Cronulla Sharks overcame a challenge from Wests Tigers at Leichardt Oval today to win 22-16 and maintain their challenge near the top of the NRL ladder.
The Tigers suffered crucial injuries to Aaron Woods (hamstring) and James Tedesco (concussion) that ultimately hampered their chances of victory.
Tigers prop Tim Grant had been ruled out with a shoulder injury, with JJ Felise coming onto the interchange bench.
Luke Lewis was missing for the Sharks with a hamstring injury, and he was replaced in the second-row by Tony Williams, who was making his Cronulla NRL debut.
Williams scored the opening try for the Sharks on ten minutes, and when Sosaia Feki touched down three minutes later they had an early eight-point lead after Mitchell Moses had kicked an early Tigers penalty.
The Tigers fought back with first-half tries from Kevin Naiqama and Mosese Suli, one of which Moses converted, while he also added a late penalty to give the Tigers a 14-10 advantage at the break.
The lead was extended to 16-10 with another penalty by Moses, but the Sharks slowly took control of the game and equalised with a converted try by Valentine Holmes before Chad Townsend followed up his own kick to score the winning try.
Tigers: 1 James Tedesco, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Michael Chee Kam, 4 Mosese Suli, 5 Kevin Naiqama, 6 Mitchell Moses, 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Aaron Woods (c), 9 Matt McIlwrick, 10 Ava Seumanufagai, 11 Joel Edwards, 12 Chris Lawrence, 13 Elijah Taylor; Interchange: 15 Sauaso Sue, 16 Josh Aloiai, 17 Jacob Liddle, 18 JJ Felise.
Tries: Naiqama, Suli; Goals: Moses 4
Sharks: 1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Jack Bird, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Gerard Beale, 6 James Maloney, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 18 Tony Williams, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Paul Gallen (c); Interchange: 14 Kurt Capewell, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jeremy Latimore, 17 Joseph Paulo.
Tries: Williams, Feki, Holmes, Townsend; Goals: Maloney 3
A full review of all the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express