Full Time
8:00pm Fri June 28, 2024
Round 17 - Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park / Wanngal - Crowd: 15765

Match Overview

Matt Burton's third attempt at field goal was the one that mattered most in the first period of Golden Point, as the Bulldogs scored a critical victory over the Cronulla Sharks, who have now dropped four of their last five matches. 

Cronulla started poorly, failing to get through their first set and were left defending their own try line for the best part of the opening five minutes. Despite a sloppy pass from Reed Mahoney out of dummy half. Canterbury capitalised on all the early field position from the visitors' mistakes as Viliame Kikau recovered the pass and grubber kicked ahead. Two Sharks players bumped into each-other and allowed Kikau to score the opening try of the evening.

Cronulla kept making errors and conceding penalties leading Canterbury on another excursion in their red-zone. Ten minutes after Kikau's effort, they were under their own sticks again. Reed Mahoney fooled the defence, as they slid on Kikau, Mahoney dummied and snuck over for the Dogs' second try. Matt Burton added the extras for a 12-0 lead.

Canterbury soon joined the party of poor discipline which cruelled them last weekend, conceding two quick penalties allowing the Sharks down the field. After making a mistake in the opening set, Cam McInnes made amends with a lovely short pass to Briton Nikora who crashed across to continue his recent purple patch of good form. Nicho Hynes converted to cut the Bulldogs lead in half.

Cronulla's attacking execution from that point on left a lot to be desired. Kayal Iro and Jesse Ramien seemed to be catching a cold when the ball was in the Sharks attacking red-zone as each attacking possession was seemingly passing them by. Canterbury were answering every Cronulla question, holding the Sharks to the lone Nikora try at the break. Things were getting heated at the break as the game's serial pest Mahoney tried to ruffle up Hynes leading to a stern warning from referee Gerard Sutton at the break.

It was a frantic start to the second half, as both sides broke the defensive line. However in the greasy conditions, the movements were coming up just short with errors and forward passes cruelling point-scoring chances on both sides. After the miscues. The Sharks went scheming down the blind-slide, finally utilising Ramien who got it out to Sione Katoa who sprinted down the sideline. Katoa was able to be the dragging cover defence to go over for the first try of the second stanza.

After a lull where the Bulldogs dominated possession but once again came up empty. Cronulla were starting to become more expansive and were breaking through the Dogs middle. Following a Hynes half-break, Braydon Trindall went to the air. Mulitalo took the ball un-contested and was was somehow able to get boot to ball. Trindall was there to pick it up and cross to give the Sharks the lead for the first time in the contest.

Cronulla's poor discipline was giving the Dogs chance after chance in the red-zone but it appeared the winning moment wasn't going to come. A late Bailey Hayward grubber kick saw Toby Rudolf give away his third penalty of the evening. This allowed Burton to take a gift two points and level the scores at 14-14. Burton tried two, two-point field goals but missed by agonising margins sending the game to Golden Point.

Both sides had their chances in Golden Point. Cronulla had their first chance after a Sam Hughes error in the Dogs' first set. Hynes' miss from directly in front gave the Dogs a fresh set. Some offloads gave the home side field position, and Burton made sure it was third time lucky when he slotted it off the upright to give the Bulldogs the win to stay in pace for a top 4 spot. 

3. Reed Mahoney

2. Matt Burton

1. Cameron McInnes