Finals stage set as Sharks take care of Raiders

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It took less than five minutes for the visitors to open the scoring through fullback Jordan Rapana who cannoned through to contest for a Jamal Fogarty bomb and outleap opposite Connor Tracey.

It marked the veteran’s 100th try for the club – a feat accomplished by only three other Raiders.

The Sharks responded 15 minutes in through Jesse Ramien who charged through a retreating Canberra left edge off a Tracey pass to crash over.

In the wake of Nicho Hynes missing Round 26 with a quad complaint, five-eighth Braydon Trindall took over the goalkicking duties with his first attempt waved away as the score remained 6-4 in the visitors' favour.

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Zac Woolford went close to snagging the first try of his NRL career off his own grubber out of dummy-half but a desperate boot courtesy of Blayke Brailey prevented him.

With both teams bogged down in a type of territorial stalemate, Raiders half Matt Frawley tried his hand at a one-pointer on the stroke of half-time with the ball slamming off the left upright but into the hands of a waiting Shark.

Jack Williams broke the stalemate for the hosts hitting a hole on the inside of Hynes and stepping his way under the sticks from 20 out.

Jack Wighton burst through the Sharks’ defensive line from inside his own half just shy of the hour-mark but was dragged down by the bootlaces by Tracey.

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Cronulla’s defence held strong off the back of it with Sione Katoa skying to reel in a last-tackle kick before being dumped vertically on his head in ugly fashion by Kris.

Kris was sent from the field with a chanting PointsBet crowd the backdrop and has been hit with a mammoth five-match suspension.

With an extra number on the field, Cronulla’s attack came into its own the corresponding set with Trindall cleaning up a Rapana spill off a Hynes punt to score next to the sticks and extend the lead beyond a converted try.


They grabbed another two minutes later via Mulitalo who dived over in the left corner in trademark fashion off a left-side shift and Hynes draw-and-pass.

A bouncing Hynes cut-out sent Katoa over in the opposite corner with less than 10 on the clock as the Sharks ran away with a needed victory.

Tracey had another strong afternoon at the back before leaving the field with 10 minutes to play assisting on a try and running for 190 metres whilst Ramien scored a try and ran for a team-high 200 metres with 11 tackle breaks.

Matt Timoko proved a handful for much of the afternoon running for 250 metres with six tackle breaks and assisting on a line break whilst Rapana scored Canberra’s only try and ran for 199 metres.

As a result, the Sharks will host a Sydney Roosters outfit riding a five-game winning streak on Saturday night at PointsBet Stadium in a do-or-die qualifying final.

Canberra will travel to face a white-hot Newcastle Knights side at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon with the loser’s season also over.

Cameron Laing
Owner | Local Supporter
Shire Talk

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