Sharks up-end Rabbitohs to climb back into the eight

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Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Cronulla have done the job over a surprisingly clunky South Sydney side to record a 15-point win at Pointsbet Stadium, with the Shire side 39-24 victors.

Back to full strength and coming off a vital win over North Queensland last round, Cronulla were expected to give the high-flying Rabbitohs a stern test, but even the most ardent of Sharks fans wouldn't have expected such a convincing win over a premiership contender.

The two competition points means the Sharks are back in the top eight and will finish the weekend there, while Souths are now third and should the Roosters beat the Titans as expected on Sunday afternoon, will slide to fourth place.

It started a little slowly for Cronulla, a penalty goal in the fifth minute giving way to the opening try ten minutes later when Ronaldo Mulitalo crossed. At 22 minutes Josh Dugan had the Sharks' second try and the cogs were in motion. Shaun Johnson's boot was perfect up to that point with the hosts taking a 14-0 lead, surprising many at the ground and watching at home.

A professional side like the Rabbitohs don't cave that easily though. Dane Gagai and Cameron Murray got the Bunnies back within two points with tries scored in quick succession before the half-hour mark and it was game on.

Cronulla wrestled the momentum back with Bronson Xerri scoring down the edge after 34 minutes and when Josh Morris climbed over the line shortly before the break, the dream was nearing a reality. The hosts led 24-12 at the halftime break.

In much the same way as the first half, a Cronulla penalty goal was the first scoring play, with Johnson pushing the margin to fourteen points. Xerri's second try a few minutes later had the home fans in raptures, and despite South Sydney grabbing their third through Cody Walker with 13 minutes remaining, the Sharks never looked like losing after the hour-mark.

Briton Nikora's try was the hosts' last with seven on the clock, Souths adding one more to limit the damage late on with Campbell Graham crossing late. A Chad Townsend field goal on the siren capped a 15-point win for the Sharks as they jumped into seventh place, and put the Rabbitohs' top-two hopes into limbo.

Next Friday, Cronulla will head to Penrith looking for a third straight win. The Bunnies take their home fixture against Melbourne to Gosford in a vital top-four showdown on Sunday afternoon.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 39 - South Sydney Rabbitohs 24

Venue: PointsBet Stadium
Crowd: 13523
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 South Sydney Rabbitohs 12

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Wade Graham
2 points - Bronson Xerri
1 points - Shaun Johnson

CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (39)
Tries: Ronaldo Mulitalo, Josh Dugan, Bronson Xerri (2), Josh Morris, Briton Nikora
Field Goals: Chad Townsend (1/1)
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (5/6)
Penalty Goals: Shaun Johnson (2/2)

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (24)
Tries: Dane Gagai, Cameron Murray, Cody Walker, Campbell Graham
Field Goals:
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (4/4)
Penalty Goals:


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