Raiders and Sharks rookies rack up the points in entertaining contest

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Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks v Canberra Raiders

The Raiders players though gave coach Ricky Stuart a handful of good headaches as many of them turned out top quality performances to possibly put themselves in contention for a game during the finals.

Canberra opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Tom Starling dished a crash ball, close to the Sharks line to Dunamis Lui, who barged over for a soft try to the left of the sticks. Sam Williams converted.

Just two minutes passed before the Sharks hit back when Ronaldo Mulitalo decided to run through Nick Cotric, before eventually getting the ball down for a try on the left side. Mawene Hiroti failed to convert from out wide.

The Raiders then scored 3 quick tries in 9 minutes to take the game away from the Sharks early. Nick Cotric crossed in the 19th minute after he cleaned up a lovely grubber by Williams. Williams converted from touch.

A break by Starling 3 minutes later put the Raiders on the attack and 2 plays later, Starling from dummy half, skipped to the right, but had no runners, so he took on the line himself, burrowed down and got across the stripe to score under the posts. Williams converted from in front.

In the 27th minute, the Raiders crossed again when Starling made a break down the left side, kicked back infield where Williams received a perfect bounce and scored to the left of the posts. Williams converted and Canberra led 24-4 after 28 minutes.

The Sharks snared a try 5 minutes before halftime when Connor Tracey kicked on the last to the right wing where Nene Macdonald went up, caught the ball and half passed-half lost it backwards to Briton Nikora, who scored comfortably wide on the right side. Hiroti's conversion hit the post and went over.

Canberra kept the points flowing in the second half when Starling hit his trailing runner Kai O'Donnell, who used some lovely late footwork to dive over and score under the posts in the 46th minute. Williams added the extras.

In the 52nd minute Matt Frawley received the ball on the left side, dummied left, stepped back inside, shrugged off a tackle and then fell over the line to score a good try. Williams failed to convert from out wide.

The Sharks then staged a short-lived fightback. In the 56th minute, Wade Graham recovered a loose pass, strolled past Harawira-Naera and then dived over to score on the left side. Hiroiti converted.

3 minutes later, the Sharks were in again when Scott Sorensen, at acting dummy half, darted to the short side on the left, then flicked a pass out the back to Bryson Goodwin who dived over to score a soft try. Hiroti again converted to reduced the Sharks deficit to just 12 points.

From the restart, Jack Williams was pushed back ingoal by the Raiders defence, forcing a Sharks drop out. The Sharks opted for a short kick, which was caught by Harley Smith-Shields above his head, before racing ten metres to score untouched. Williams failed to convert again.

In the 66th minute Nikora ran onto a nice, short, crash ball and he barged over for a soft try on the right edge. Hiroti nailed the sideline conversion to make the score 38-28.

66 points scored in 66 minutes.

The final 14 minutes saw Sharks chancing their arm on every play and regularly turning the ball over.

Referee Ashley Klein injured his ankle with 8 minutes remaining in the match and two minutes after he was replaced by Gerard Sutton, Corey Harawira-Naera was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes for a professional foul, after he made a try saving tackle from an offside position.

The Sharks couldn't find any more points and the Raiders hung on for an entertaining win.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 28 - Canberra Raiders 38

Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Crowd: 2783
Halftime Score: Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10 Canberra Raiders 24 Players of the Match:
3 points - Tom Starling
2 points - Sam Williams
1 points - Dunamis Lui

Tries: Ronaldo Mulitalo, Briton Nikora (2), Wade Graham, Bryson Goodwin
Field Goals:
Conversions: Mawene Hiroti (4/5)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: Dunamis Lui, Sam Williams, Nick Cotric, Tom Starling, Kai O'Donnell, Matt Frawley, Harley Smith-Shields
Field Goals:
Conversions: Sam Williams (5/7)
Penalty Goals:

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