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Sloppy Sharks strike late to overcome Tigers
The Sharks have scored two tries in the final six minutes to snatch a late 24-22 win over a brave Tigers side in front of over 11,000 fans.
Saturday night's clash between the Sharks and Tigers opened in pretty ordinary fashion with both sides guilty of an error-ridden start. Yet, the Sharks gained the upper hand early when Ava Seumanufagai was sin-binned for interfering with Paul Gallen after a quick tap.
However, the Sharks were struggling to capitalise. Nevertheless, the Tigers eventually cracked when Kurt Capewell received an Edrick Lee offload and dived over in the 18th minute to post the opening points of the night.
When it appeared as if the Sharks were beginning to gain ascendancy, the Tigers bounced back when Tom Eisenhuth sent Elijah Taylor crashing over off a perfectly waited short ball. Only seven minutes later they were on the board once more, with Esan Marsters breaking through four tacklers to force his way over from dummy-half. Subsequently, the Tigers took a 12-4 lead into the break.
The second forty opened in concerning fashion for the home side when Jacob Liddle pounced from dummy-half to score an early four-pointer. The Sharks were quick to respond - and in exciting fashion. Daniel Mortimer quickly scooted out of dummy-half and found Joseph Paulo who put through a perfect short ball for Sosaia Feki. Feki ran straight through the Tigers' defence and found halfback Chad Townsend is in support to finish off a stunning team try.
Suddenly, the Sharks were beginning to build momentum and they eventually reduced the deficit to two when Capewell crossed for his second try of the night in the 61st minute.
Execution had been the issue for Ivan Cleary's side all night, yet that was not the case in the 69th minute when Kevin Naiqama threw a perfectly executed cut-out ball for Malakai Watene-Zelezniak who scored over out wide.
Unfortunately, the Tigers they were unable to hold on. Two late tries to Lee and Jason Bukuya saw the Sharks steal a late 24-22 win over a gallant Tigers outfit to secure second spot on the ladder.
Next week, the Sharks host the Sea Eagles at 4pm on Sunday in what is sure to be an entertaining clash between two in-form rivals. Meanwhile, the Tigers will have the perfect opportunity to get back in the winner's circle when they play the injury-hit Titans at Campbelltown Stadium on Friday night.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24 - Wests Tigers 22
Venue: Southern Cross Group Stadium
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 4 Wests Tigers 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Kurt Capewell
2 points - Jayson Bukuya
1 points - Elijah Taylor
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (24)
Tries: Kurt Capewell (2), Chad Townsend, Edrick Lee, Jayson Bukuya
Conversions: Chad Townsend (2/5)
WESTS TIGERS (22)
Tries: Elijah Taylor, Esan Marsters, Jacob Liddle, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
Conversions: Tuimoala Lolohea (3/4)