Battered Sharks outlast fast finishing Panthers

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Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Penrith Panthers

An intriguing final match of the round saw the Sharks snatch a win against the Panthers 26-22 in a sloppy, yet wide open, fast moving contest.

The first half was a fast moving, open contest that had too much dropped ball, but saw three good tries scored.

Both sides had tentative opening sets but in the fifth minute, Dugan saw that the Panthers winger was up in the line, so he put in a wobbly grubber. Holmes picked up the ball cleanly to score untouched in the right corner. Townsend failed to convert.

Five minutes later and the Sharks very nearly scored again. Moylan grubbered early and Crichton cleaned up but then lost the ball in a 1 on 1 strip by Moylan inside the Panthers in goal. The loose ball was grounded by Brailey, however the Bunker ruled that Moylan knocked the ball on.

Shortly after, Fifita made a half break near the Panthers line and got a good ball away to Capewell, however he couldn't hang onto it.

After 20 minutes Penrith finally got on the board after a slick passing movement left created an extra man and Watene-Zelezniak scores untouched in the corner. Maloney nailed the sideline conversion to give his side a 2 point lead.

3 minutes later and Penrith nearly crossed again when Peachey and Moylan contested a Maloney kick. Peachey was found to have knocked the ball forward out of Moylan's hands, denying the Panthers a try.

In the 28th minute, Sorensen received the ball on the left side 40 metres out from the Panthers line. He shrugged off two defenders, then produced a huge left foot step before running away to score untouched under the posts. Townsend converted.

The half closed out with a succession of scrums in a sloppy final 5 minutes of the half.

The Sharks were the first to score in the second half and it come on the back of a great kick return by Dugan down the right wing, before linking with Lee, who was eventually tackled 15 metres shy of the try line. Three plays later and Brailey darted right from dummy half, dummied once before passing to Ramien who ran a beautiful inside line and dived over to score. Townsend converted.

Penrith gave away back to back penalties late in the Sharks sets. Townsend slotted a penalty goal to take the lead out to 12 points.

Five minutes later than Panthers hit back when Katoa's nifty little grubber is grounded by Edwards for a good try. Maloney converted from in front.

Ten minutes later, Segeyaro put in a grubber 10m out from the Panthers line. Maloney took out Dugan as he was chasing through, however Ramien follows through and grounded the ball to score anyway. Townsend converted.

With 6 minutes remaining, Townsend kicked another penalty goal to extend the Sharks lead to 14. However the Panthers were not done.

Yeo scored a great bullocking try with 3 minutes left, which Maloney converted and from the next set, Kikau barged over with nothing happening to get the Panthers within a try and with 30 seconds left.

However despite throwing the ball around as the siren sounded, Maloney eventually lost it and the Sharks dived on it to close the game out, the Sharks winning by 4 points.

Cronulla's winning form takes them to the Gold Coast next Saturday, while Penrith will look to bounce back against Canterbury on Friday night at home.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 26 - Penrith Panthers 22

Venue: Southern Cross Group Stadium
Crowd: 12677
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10 Penrith Panthers 6 Players of the Match:
3 points - Jayden Brailey
2 points - Andrew Fifita
1 points - Josh Dugan

Tries: Valentine Holmes, Scott Sorensen, Jesse Ramien (2)
Field Goals:
Conversions: Chad Townsend (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Chad Townsend (2/2)

Tries: Dallin Watene Zelezniak, Dylan Edwards, Isaah Yeo, Viliame Kikau
Field Goals:
Conversions: James Maloney (3/4)
Penalty Goals:

See how it happened in our Match Centre