Sharks clinch hard-fought win as Tigers are hit hard by injuries

Wade Graham

The Sharks may have won the contest with a late try to Chad Townsend but the talking point was several injuries suffered by Wests Tigers players over the course of the game.

On the back of a spirited Tigers performance at their spiritual home ground, Leichhardt Oval, the Sharks only just managed to win as they move into the top 4.

The Tigers’ resolve saw them head into the break four points ahead but it was prior to the game starting that an interesting incident took place, for when Aaron Woods’ named appeared on the screen, he was booed by the home fans.

An impressive performer for the Sharks was the returning Tony Williams who scored his 50th career try in the match after bulldozing over Tigers defenders to score.

The match was not without its fair share of controversy, though, as the Tigers scored through fullback James Tedesco, only for it to be called back because captain Woods had apparently interfered with Paul Gallen at marker.

The Tigers managed to put that behind them and score a couple of tries but in the end, the weight of numbers proved telling and it was the Sharks who clinched a victory.

Yet to determine the extent of Woods’ hamstring injury, Tigers coach Ivan Cleary tried to provide some clarity and perspective on his issue.

“He’s gone for a scan but it’s obviously not great,” Cleary said of Woods.

“He’d be 1000-1 [for the Test] but I’m not a doctor. It was through force, he wasn’t running when it happened.

“We had a lot of brave boys out there tonight playing injured, obviously we lost a few troops and under the interchange, we had a few struggles.”

As for winger David Nofoaluma, he actually stayed on the field despite a knee injury but was clearly hampered by it and is now in doubt to play for Samoa in next week’s rep round.

“[Nofoaluma] was on one leg pretty much the whole game, he said he had the same thing last year so he got a knock around the medial ligament so it’s just very painful and we hope around the joint is stable,” Cleary continued.

“We really missed a guy like ‘Noffa’, he makes such a difference in terms of penetrating the back field and giving us a good start to our sets so we just lost that with him tonight.”

Pleased with his side’s performance to some extent, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan knows that they have been inconsistent despite a 6-3 start to the season.

“It’s one of those things, if you’re going to be successful throughout the year then you’ll have some of those games,” Flanagan said.

“The only consistent thing we’ve been good at is inconsistent, but we’re 6-3 so it’s a good time for us to get away.

“If you said to me at the start of the year we’d be 6-3, I’d have taken it.”

Player of the Game:

3. Wade Graham

2. Tony Williams

  1. Moses Suli

Cronulla Sharks 22 (Williams, Feki, Holmes, Townsend tries; Maloney 3 goals) def. Wests Tigers 16 (Naiqama, Suli tries; Moses 4 goals) at Leichhardt Oval. Half-time: Wests Tigers 14-10. Crowd: 13,405.

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