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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Cronulla Sharks were comfortable 42-16 winners against a feeble New Zealand Warriors outfit on a bright afternoon at Shark Park.
In the bright sunshine, the Sharks past 40 points for the third time this season, as they plumped their for-and-against and kept themselves well in the final's hunt sat in seventh spot ahead of the Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers.
Last week was a scrappy affair that was sealed with a Xerri try but today, the young centre opened the scoring with a scything run which the Sharks never looked back. Johs Morris, Josh Dugan and Briton Nikora helped them out to a 24-10 half-time lead.
Against his old club, Shaun Johnson directed play like a Hollywood blockbuster. He laid on several tries with his passing game, nailed 7 goals and importantly, took on the line sharply against a desperate Warriors side, plunging the final nail into the coffin for their season.
Sharks kept their foot on the throat with a second half assault - interchange forward Braden Hamlin-Uele strolled through in the 48th minute almost untouched, a metaphor for the Warriors this afternoon as they barely laid a glove on the Sharks.
Josh Morris got himself into the act with a second in the points bonanza, young Ronaldo Mulitalo highlighted the depth of quality backs in the club with touching down just before the more senior Dugan, as the spirits and scoreboard soared in the Shire.
For the Warriors, there were brief spells where they looked in the contest. Patrick Herbert made it 6-4 with a strong effort then Isaiah Papalii ran a good line to bring them within a dozen before half-time. David Fusitua's effort on the hour mark highlighted a limp second half where they folded.
That result makes it another season without finals football for the Warriors. After the big decisions made at the club in the off-season then the mid-season recruitment of Kodi Nikorima, it has left a lot more questions than answers for a side that many could've pencilled in for September.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 42 - Warriors 16
Venue: PointsBet Stadium
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 Warriors 10
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Shaun Johnson
2 points - Josh Dugan
1 points - Bronson Xerri
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (42)
Tries: Bronson Xerri, Josh Morris (2), Josh Dugan, Briton Nikora, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Ronaldo Mulitalo
Conversions: Shaun Johnson (7/7)
Tries: Patrick Herbert, Isaiah Papalii, David Fusitua
Conversions: Patrick Herbert (1/2), Issac Luke (1/1)