Cronulla earned their fourth successive victory with a 28-2 hammering of Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Sunday.
The Sharks ran in five tries and kept their tryline intact for the second successive week, with their brutal defence upsetting the Panthers’ attack, especially in the first half.
Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary tested the Sharks outside backs early in the game with three spiralling bombs in the opening six minutes, but all were well dealt with.
Cleary then landed a penalty conceded by Wade Graham, but Cronulla responded brilliantly after earning two penalties themselves.
James Maloney touched down a Chad Townsend gruber on 17 minutes and Sharks centre Jack Bird then had a try disallowed for obstruction.
But Sosaia Feki went over in the corner before half-time after superb passes from Graham and his centre partner Ricky Leutele.
In the second half Bird touched down after taking a ball from Luke Lewis for the Sharks’ third of the afternoon.
And with 20 minutes remaining Sharks skipper Paul Gallen went over from a pass near the line from hooker Jayden Brailey.
Interchange forward Joseph Paulo then laid on a try for Andrew Fifita for his first try of the season.
It was the third successive loss for the Panthers, who now face the Parramatta Eels on Saturday afternoon.
Panthers: 1 Matt Moylan (c); 2 Waqa Blake, 3 Dean Whare, 4 Tyrone Peachey, 5. Dallin Watene Zelezniak; 6 Te Maire Martin, 7. Nathan Cleary; 8 James Tamou, 9 Peter Wallace, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Isaah Yeo, 12 James Fisher-Harris, 13 Trent Merrin. Subs: 15 Leilani Latu, 18 Moses Leota, 19 Tim Brown, 20 Peta Hiku.
Sharks: 1 Valentine Holmes; 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Jack Bird, 4 Ricky Leutele, 17 Kurt Capewell; 6 James Maloney, 7 Chad Townsend; 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Luke Lewis, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen (c). Subs: 14. Jayson Bukuya, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jeremy Latimore, 19 Joseph Paulo.
A full review of all the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express