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Sharks set sights on top-two finish after downing Tigers

The Cronulla Sharks have put the rest of the top eight on notice, with a huge 36-12 win against the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.

In front of a sold-out crowd at Scully Park in Tamworth, the Sharks’ six tries to two win sees them jump up to equal second on the NRL ladder and perfectly commemorate the 150th NRL game for Cameron McInnes.

They will now have their eyes set on a top two spot, with their next three matches against bottom eight teams. The second-placed North Queensland Cowboys lost to the Sydney Roosters in the earlier game and are set to face Penrith in the last round.

It was an outstanding first-half effort from the Sharks, who were exciting in attack and solid in defence. They were able to make easy meters and constantly kept applying pressure to their opposition.

Nicho Hynes continues to shine as halfback, guiding his team around the park beautifully and making the most metres out of either side with 203. He has also improved immensely in the goal-kicking department, converting 6 of 7.

The win was however soured after Toby Rudolf left the field late in the game was a suspected MCL injury that could see him sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

The Tigers who are desperate to avoid the wooden spoon, were a far cry from the side that upset the Broncos two weeks ago. They showed some spark throughout the 80 minutes but not enough to catch fire. Fullback Daine Laurie was one of the best from the losing side, safe under the high ball and always full of effort.

Cronulla opened the scoring in just the fifth minute, after receiving a set restart on top of the Tigers try line. A lovely little grubber off the boot of Hynes was picked up by Lachlan Miller for his second try in the NRL.

A mirror image of the first try came only minutes later on the opposite side, when Shark’s centre Matt Ikuvalu scored from a Braydon Trindall kick into the in goal. Hynes added the extras for a 12-0 lead.

Celebrations were short-lived when on the back of a Cronulla error, Fa’amanu Brown barged over the try line from dummy half to get the Tigers on the board.  

It didn’t take long for the tide to turn back, when Royce Hunt celebrated his birthday in style by storming over for his side’s third try in the 19th minute. The next set the Shire boys were at in again, when a break up the right-hand side saw winger Miller put a kick back in field for fullback Kade Miller to cross for his first NRL try in only his second game.

A penalty goal not long before the halftime break gave the Sharks a 26-6 lead heading into the sheds.

The second half started off slow, with the Sharks seemingly taking their foot off the pedal. They were eventually the first on the board when Braden Hamlin-Uele barged over for a four-pointer in the 52nd minute. Tigers returned serve when Luke Garner made a bust from the 20m line and scored in the corner.

But it wasn’t long until Cronulla were back on the attack and a Jesse Ramien try saw the Sharks leap out to a 36-12 lead.

Cronulla make the most of another Tigers error

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— Fox League (@FOXNRL) August 13, 2022

When Teig Wilton was sent to the sin bin with eleven minutes on the clock, Brent Naden thought he had capitalised on the one-man advantage and broke straight through the Sharks defence to score. But the bunker had other ideas and ruled a ‘no-try’ due to obstruction.

Cronulla were able to keep the Tigers at bay while down to 12 men to take out the 24-point win.

 

Rugby – The Roar 

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