Cronulla comeback stuns Panthers

Cronulla Sharks came from 14 points down twice to win 24-20 against Penrith Panthers at Shark Park.

Penrith started quickly and were 14 points up after twenty minutes when James Maloney set up Tim Grant with a pass and then Nathan Cleary with a grubber kick. Cleary kicked both conversions before slotting a penalty.

Bronson Xerri’s searing pace got the Sharks back in the game after half-time when he streaked down the sideline, burning Dallin Watene-Zelezniak for pace to boot. But when Penrith shifted the ball to the right with 20 minutes to go, Waqa Blake got through for a try to make it 20-6.

Cronulla then came back with three quick tries to take the lead. Briton Nikora broke up the middle, kicked ahead for Chad Townsend who was tackled by Malakai Watene-Zelezniak before he had the chance to play at the ball, resulting in a penalty try for the home side. Andrew Fifita sailed over off a pass from Townsend before Josh Dugan crossed on the right to give the home side the advantage on to which they held.

Sharks: Kennedy, Feki, Xerri, Morris, Dugan, Johnson, Townsend, Fifita, J Brailey, Prior, Nikora, Capewell, Gallen; Interchanges: B Brailey, Williams, Sorensen, Hamlin-Uele
Tries: Xerri, Townsend – pen, Fifita, Dugan; Goals: Townsend 4

Panthers: D Watene-Zelezniak, Mansour, Whare, Blake, M Watene-Zelezniak, Maloney, Cleary, Tamou, Egan, Grant, Kikau, Yeo, Fisher-Harris; Interchanges: Katoa, Leota, Campbell-Gillard, Martin
Tries: Grant, Cleary, Blake; Goals: Cleary 4

Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.