nrl news on sunday – rugby league wrap up

Sharks turn corner in Dog win
Cronulla Sharks 30 def Bulldogs 20

The growing force that is the Cronulla Sharks surged on yesterday, accounting for a disjointed Dogs outfit at Telstra Stadium. The Sharks looked like running away with this one – but some expansive play and chancing of arm from the Dogs, saw them get a sniff towards the end.

The Sharks started Dykes and Kimmorley in the halves, and the much maligned pairing seemed to produce the goods. Regularly playing on opposite sides of the ruck, the elder statesmen of the NRL ran some nice plays and kept the Dogs guessing as to which side the Sharks would attack.

Big games from Greg Bird and Paul Gallen really lifted the Sharks – both these guys were impossible to tackle throughout the game. Bird has really come on this year, he has stepped up a class and troubles most opposition with his gusty and robust style. Gallen was much the same, the stocky backrower was like a runaway train at times, his final try typifying this guys style. Beating 4 defenders from 5 metres out, fending Sherwin twice and scoring a try which was really the impossible.

As with any NRL team, back to back wins promote confidence, and with every win the Sharks get they seem to be growing more than most. Their new fullback ‘Hows your Pappa?’ was stunning against the Dogs – defusing several bombs and always getting back into the field of play during sorties of attack from the Dogs. He ran with purpose and played with experience well beyond his years.

Ok, so the Bulldogs were without Willie Mason, Shrek O’Meley and Andrew Ryan – but it’s probably the most disjointed I have seen the Belmore outfit in some years. The experiment with Holdsworth in the forwards and Brent Sherwin and Ben Roberts in the halves didn’t set the world on fire. Roberts showed some good skill and evasion throughout the game, as did Holdsworth in the forwards – but Shifty Sherwin will do something brilliant then follow it up with a poor play – heaping pressure on himself and his team.

Big Jarrad Hickey had some strong touches and was hard to contain, the big bopper getting over for a late try to make the game a close one. Jon Green the rookie forward also had a nice save close to his try line – but the big units have monster shoes to fill and aren’t of the same calibre of the regular Dogs hardmen.

The Sharks forwards seemed to have really come of age, Luke Douglas looks to be the next big thing – strong, fit and able to offload and Reece Williams was lethal in defence for the Sharkies with some venomous hits.

It was a good game of football to watch this one, and as we approach Round 11 – Ricky Stuart must be complimented, as he was sacked last year from the Roosters – he is recruited into the Shire and gets their below par team to perform, locking them into the Top 8 and looking at the Roosters now – equal last in 2007 – the problem obviously wasn’t Ricky!

Wests Tigers Machine Rolls over Warriors
Wests Tigers 30 def Warriors 26

The juggernaut that is the wests Tigers continues to roll on and they held off a late finishing Warriors outfit to record their 5th win in succession.
The Tigers were helped by Wade McKinnon who had an usually off day and also by Steve Clark ‘The Terminator’ who true to his name was hardened in his resolve to police the game. Clark sent Anderson to the bin for 10 and in that period the Tigers capitalised to jump away on the scoreboard.

Good games for Payten, who was praised in depth by coach Sheens and new buy Morris continues to get better every week in his new role. It seems the Tigers are not missing Benji at all – as Liam Fulton is relishing the role at pivot, proving a star for the Tigers for most of this match.

The Tigers were actually outscored five tries to four by the Warriors but got home on the strength of Brett Hodgson’s boot, the full-back landing three conversions and four penalty goals compared to three of five conversions for Warriors centre Tony Martin.

The two sides went into half-time with scores locked at 12-12 but the Tigers scored two tries in 10 minutes after the break to shoot ahead 24-12 in the 50th minute.

John Morris scored his second try of the season in the 43rd minute, before flying winger Chris Lawrence finished off a 70-metre effort started by Taniela Tuiaki in the 49th minute.

But the Warriors hit back with a try to centre Simon Mannering on 57 minutes and clawed back to trail 26-22 with winger Patrick Ah Van’s try 15 minutes from time.

Hodgson then landed two crucial penalty goals in the final 10 minutes to keep the home side at bay, despite a late try to Lance Hohaia.

The Warriors have now slumped to three losses in a row after beginning the season with four wins from their first seven games.

In the opening stanza a late try to interchange player Ben Te’o drew the Tigers level 12-12 at half-time.

In a controversial finish to the opening half, Te’o crossed from close range on the right side, taking advantage of a Warriors outfit reduced to 12 men after Louis Anderson was sin-binned by Steve Clark in the 37th minute.

The visitors got off to a strong start, leading 8-0 after just 12 minutes following a converted try to Liam Fulton and a Brett Hodgson penalty goal.

But the Warriors went ahead by four points after tries to Manu Vatuvei (16th minute) and Jerome Ropati (29th minute).

Tigers 30 (L Fulton, B Te’o, J Morris, C Lawrence tries; B Hodgon 3 conversions, four penalties)
Warriors 26 (M Vatuvei, J Ropati, S Mannering, P Ah Van, L Hohaia tries; T Martin 3 conversions)

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