Sharks power over Cowboys, earn third-straight win

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The visitors were denied the first points of the encounter at the 11-minute mark after Siosifa Talakai picked up a loose ball off an aerial contest to dive over only for replays to show a Wade Graham knock-on in the lead-up.

The Cowboys went down the other end off the back of it with Scott Drinkwater stepping his way through a gaping hole behind the ruck to score next to the posts and get the hosts on the board.

The Sharks responded soon after via Ronaldo Mulitalo who was the beneficiary of some quick feet and hands courtesy of stand-in fullback Connor Tracey.

It marked the left winger’s 19th try of the season as he continues to close in on Valentine Holmes’ club record.

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A sideways-running Chad Townsend returned serve for the hosts finding Peta Hiku down the right edge who sent a barnstorming Semi Valemei over in the corner.

The tide of the match turned with the injection of interchange middles Tom Hazelton, Jack Williams, and Royce Hunt for Cronulla.

Hazelton bullied his way over the line on the other side of the half-hour mark off a fifth-tackle Blayke Brailey dart to tie it at a dozen before Hunt followed suit moments later leaving a collection of sprawled Cowboys in his wake to crash over next to the sticks and earn the visitors their first lead of the affair.

Despite their shaky opening, the Sharks took an 18-12 edge into the intermission.

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The second period could not have gotten off to a poorer start for the visitors with Jeremiah Nanai dislodging the ball out of Hunt’s grip on the opening carry of the half.

The visitors, however, managed to ward off the incoming Cowboys and defend the error.

They were instead the next on the board with Graham pouncing on a ricocheting Nicho Hynes grubber to extend the lead to 12.

A Braydon Trindall 40/20 put the Sharks back on the attack in the final quarter before the improved five-eighth forced a dropout in the corresponding set.


A botched restart saw the Sharks slot a gift two points and extend their lead beyond a pair of converted tries.

Hynes stepped his way through some fatiguing Cowboys defenders late to cap off the win and ensure that Jason Taumalolo’s 250th NRL game would be spoilt and that the Sharks’ winning streak would be extended to three matches.

The win virtually guarantees the Sharks a spot in the top eight and temporarily pushes them ahead of the previously fourth-place Storm – who are in Wollongong on Saturday night to take on the Dragons.

Tracey was outstanding for Cronulla assisting on a try and running for 273 metres with four tackle breaks whilst Hynes scored a try, assisted on another, and ran for 190 metres with four tackle breaks.

Hunt and Hazelton combined for two tries and 207 metres with 11 tackle breaks off the interchange.

For North Queensland, Drinkwater scored a try and ran for 165 metres with nine tackle breaks whilst Valemei scored a try and ran for 219 metres with eight tackle breaks.

The Sharks are in Newcastle to face the Knights next Sunday in another decisive clash against a side jostling for top eight positioning.

Cameron Laing
Owner | Local Supporter
Shire Talk

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