Cronulla Sharks consolidated their top-four position today in Auckland with a 26-12 victory over New Zealand Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium, effectively ending the Warriors’ play-off hopes.
Sam Lisone came into the Warriors’ starting side at prop with Ben Matulino moving to the interchange. Tevita Satae dropped off the interchange with James Bell making his NRL debut.
Jack Bird was out for the Sharks and was replaced at centre by Kurt Capewell. Adam Clydsdale comes was drafted onto the bench to make his club debut for the Sharks after moving from the Canberra Raiders.
Cronulla were always in control of the match and were generally too strong for the Warriors in the middle of the field.
Capewell opened the scoring for the Sharks inside the opening five minutes, with Valentine Holmes adding the conversion.
The Warriors finally struck back when Solomone Kata intercepted a pass from James Segeyaro to go 60 metres for a try.
But then before Mason Lino dropped the ball to give Fa’amanu Brown a clear run to the line for for Cronulla’s second for a 12-6 lead at the break.
Holmes kicked an early second-half penalty before Lino fed Bodene Thompson, who scored from near to the line to make it 12-14 on 50 minutes.
But with 18 minutes remaining Sosaia Feki touched down out wide and then Jayson Bukuya’s try clinched the game for the Sharks.
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitua, 3 Blake Ayshford, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Kieran Foran, 7 Mason Lino, 8 Jacob Lillyman, 9 Issac Luke, 15 Sam Lisone, 11 Bodene Thompson, 12 Bunty Afoa, 13 Simon Mannering; Interchange: 10 Ben Matulino, 14 Ata Hingano, 16 Ligi Sao, 20 James Bell
Tries: Kata, Thompson; Goals: Luke 2
Sharks: 1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 16 Kurt Capewell, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Gerard Beale, 6 Fa’amanu Brown, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 James Segeyaro, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen (c); Interchange: 14 Jayson Bukuya, 15 Chris Heighington, 17 Jeremy Latimore, 19 Adam Clydsdale
Tries: Capewell, Brown, Feki, Bukuya; Goals: Holmes 5
Monday’s edition of League Express, available in the shops or online, will feature full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches.