Full Time
8:00pm Fri July 12, 2024
Round 19 - PointsBet Stadium, Woolooware / Dharawal - Crowd: 10912

Match Overview

The Cronulla Sharks have inflicted their most ruthless performance of 2024 with a 58-6 thrashing of the Wests Tigers as the struggling club lost their captain Api Koroisau to a calf injury in the second half. 

Cronulla had early ascendency following an early line-break from Daniel Atkinson, splitting some shocking middle defence. From the ensuing tackle, the Sharks moved the ball left as Braydon Trindall delivered early, quality ball to Kayal Iro as he got past some would-be tacklers for the first try. Trindall added the extras to cement a quality start for the home side inside the opening 5 minutes.

Despite a poor start, the Tigers stuck to their basics and got rewarded with a silky try following a yardage penalty. Samuela Fainu hit a strong line and was able to get an offload away to Jahreem Bula. Bula was then able to offload to Solomona Faataape to restore order for the visitors. Api Koroisau added the extras to level the scores after 11 minutes.

After a strong kick return from Ronaldo Mulitalo who combined with try-scorer Iro, the Sharks turned momentum back in their favour almost immediately. The home side stripped the Tigers for numbers and Mulitalo fended away from Alex Lobb to score for the Sharks. It looked like the Sharks were going to add a third after another break from Mulitalo, he linked up with Trindall and was brought down. The Sharks winger forced a professional foul by Koroisau and despite the Tigers hooker pleading his best case, he was sin-binned by Adam Gee.

The Tigers have struggled when being down to 12 men this year. That continued here, as after successive sets on the line the Tigers wall cracked. A brilliant, lofted pass from Briton Nikora delivered a saloon passage to the line for Sione Katoa who crossed for the home side in the dying stages of Koroisau's sin bin period. This was nearly extended further but just as the sin-bin period came to a close, the Sharks butchered an easy scoring opportunity.

Wests seemed to dominate field position after a prolonged period with the football. However, Aidan Sezer's pass was picked off by Jesse Ramien who sprinted 80 metres before getting caught by Bula and Staines. There was a lack of onside players in defence which allowed Katoa to run from dummy half and cross for the fourth try of the night and make it a 24-6 half-time lead for the Sharks.

After the break, Cronulla continued on their scoring ways. A well worked set play saw Atkinson draw in some horrific edge defence to send Mulitalo away in the corner after 48 minutes. Six minutes later, the suffering continued when Blayke Brailey delivered a brilliant pass to Braden Hamlin-Uele to cross. The returning prop delivered one of the best celebrations of #TryJuly so far to extend the gap to 28.

Four minutes later, Mulitalo grabbed his hattrick after a brilliant kick return from deep inside his own end. He got on the outside of Bateman and got up to halfway before finding Trindall. The half juggled it but did well to haul it in before offloading back to Mulitalo to cross for his hat-trick. Three minutes later, Trindall again delivered with a brilliant pass to Nikora to make the deficit 40 points for the home side. The Tigers did show some fight with a brilliant cover tackle from Fonua Pole saving a certain four pointer for Trindall with 15 to go. Despite showing some fight, the Tigers defensive inefficiencies again reared themselves to the forefront. Ramien brought up the 50 as he manhandled Heath Mason on his way to the line. In the dying moments, Trindall crossed through two middle forwards to cross to bring up 22 points for the evening and secure a 52 point win. 

The only sour note for the Sharks was a potentially serious knee injury to returning prop Jesse Colquhoun. The front rower was returning from injury for his first NRL game of the year when his knee gave way with 20 to go. While for the Tigers, Koroisau was assisted with a calf injury and left the match with 15 to play. 

3. Braydon Trindall

2. Ronaldo Mulitalo

1. Briton Nikora