Full Time
6:00pm Fri March 8, 2024
Round 1 - Go Media Stadium, Penrose / Aotearoa - Crowd: 24076

Match Overview

The Cronulla Sharks have stunned the New Zealand Warriors with a 16-12 win in Auckland to claim only their second opening round win in 11 years.

Fighting back from a 0-12 deficit inside the opening quarter, the Sharks scored either side of halftime to get back into the contest before a try to Siosifa Talakai midway through the second half sealed a memorable win over last year's preliminary finalists.

The win continued a strong record for the Sharks at Go Media Stadium - their fourth from their past five visits - along with extending a 66% record from 18 matches against the Warriors over the past decade.

The Warriors started in fine fashion with Addin Fonua-Blake (8th minute) showing his future teammates what they can expect with a powerful run from close range to open the scoring.

Taking advantage of Cronulla front-rower Royce Hunt turning over possession on multiple occasions with ill-conceived offloads, the home side doubled their lead with five-eighth Luke Metcalf (12th minute) dazzling the Sharks with speed and footwork to put the home side up 12-0.

Threatening to go further in front with Jackson Ford, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Kurt Capewell all coming close to scoring, the Warriors inability to translate their dominance onto the scoreboard allowed the Sharks to grow in confidence.

The visitors struck a crucial blow shortly before the change of ends with Jesse Ramien (34th minute) barging over from a metre out to reduce the margin to 12-6.

Taking advantage of an error in the first set following the resumption of play, the Sharks shifted the ball left and capitalised with Talakai positioning Ronaldo Mulitalo (41st minute) to touch down in the corner.

Hitting the front for the first time after withstanding plenty of pressure on their own line, a similar left side shift saw Mulitalo deliver the final pass for Talakai (57th minute) to give the Sharks a 16-12 lead.

Repelling the home side repeatedly during the final quarter, the Sharks emerged with a deserved four-point win in Jack Williams' 100th appearance for the club.

Next week, the Warriors will travel to Melbourne for a Saturday evening clash with the Storm, while the Sharks will host the Bulldogs on Friday night at home.

3. William Kennedy

The diminutive fullback stood up under a mountain of pressure to hold the line for the Sharks when it mattered most.

2. Siosifa Talakai

Coming up with some crucial plays with the ball, the strike centre was instrumental in getting the visitors back into the contest.

1. Addin Fonua-Blake

Getting through a mountain of work to go along with the opening try, the Warriors front-rower was strong against his future club.