A first-half hat-trick from Will Kennedy has seen the Cronulla Sharks defeat the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 33-20 to post consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Leading for all bar the opening minutes during the ANZAC Round clash, the Sharks extended their dominance over the Bulldogs to ten wins from their past 12 meetings along with recording their first victory at Accor Stadium in five years.
Conceding an early penalty goal via the boot of Matt Burton, the Sharks were quick to respond with Briton Nikora breaking through the Bulldogs defence before finding Kennedy (7th minute) in support with a clear run to the line.
Going the length of the field in the ensuing set, Kennedy (9th minute) outleapt Hayze Perham to snare his second in as many minutes.
The Bulldogs worked their way into the contest through a seven tackle set which allowed returning outside back Braidon Burns (18th minute) to finish off a right-side shift.
Having scored the first hat-trick of his career earlier in the season, Kennedy (22nd minute) replicated the feat with a show-and-go that was upheld by the bunker despite concerns of an obstruction.
Responding in the closing stages of the first half, Perham delivered a classy pass to send Declan Casey (36th minute) over in the corner to send the Bulldogs to the sheds trailing by just four despite an error-riddled first half.
The Sharks were denied a try to Royce Hunt, who was deemed held up by the referee prior to grounding the ball, early in the second half but quickly made amends with Matt Moylan (42nd minute) finishing off an aerial catch and offload from Ronaldo Mulitalo.
Going beyond two converted tries after the Bulldogs committed an error ten metres out from the try line, Nicho Hynes delivered a lovely pass to send Sione Katoa (56th minute) over for his 50th try in first grade.
Named in the number seven jersey for the first time in his career, Burton produced a strong run and offload that allowed Corey Waddell (67th minute) to cross for a consolation four-pointer.
The Sharks butchered a try in the closing stages with Mulitalo putting a hand on the dead ball line prior to grounding, but it proved inconsequential as a late penalty and field goal from Hynes saw the visitors run out 33-20 victors.
Next week, the Bulldogs will head to Wollongong on Sunday afternoon to take on the Dragons, while the Sharks host the Cowboys on Thursday evening on home soil.