A Shaun Johnson master class leads the Cronulla Sharks to a 46-10 rout of the New Zealand Warriors Warriors.
The round 10 clash between the Warriors and Sharks at Central Coast Stadium was a hard one to pick coming into the game.
The Sharks were embarrassed by the Panthers in a heartless performance the week before.
While the Warriors went down to the Titans in a tight game.
With both sides having Jekyll and Hyde seasons, the game script was always going to depend on which version of each side showed up.
It was the Sharks who turned up on form with a first half blitz that took the game away from the Warriors inside the first 20 minutes.
Braden Hamlin-Uele took advantage of some soft defence to cross over from 20 meters out.
Chad Townsend took on the line and delivered a short pass to Hamilton-Uele who ran through almost untouched.
Shaun Johnson converted to make it 6-0 inside 5 minutes.
The Warriors had an opportunity to score when David Fusitua made a break but Patrick Herbert was adjudicated to have dropped the ball over the line.
It was danger signs for the Warriors defence when William Kennedy scored moments later off a scrum.
Johnson gave Kennedy early ball and he was able to get on the outside of Peta Hiku to run through for an easy try.
Johnson converted again from out wide.
The next Sharks try came when Josh Dugan beat two defenders to deliver a brilliant one handed pass to winger Ronaldo Mulitalo.
Johnson converted and just like that the Warriors were down 18 points inside 20 minutes.
The Warriors had a tough task ahead, having only scored more than 18 points once this season.
But they managed to score next through Ken Maumalo, who is one of four Warriors players who will be returning to New Zealand on 27 July.
It was Kodi Nikorima who split the Sharks left edge defence with a darting run creating an overlap for Maumalo to score in the corner.
Nikorima couldn’t add the extras.
Any chance of a Warriors come back was thwarted by their former superstar Johnson when he scored his first try of the season shortly before half time.
Johnson put a grubber through for Townsend who couldn’t collect.
But Blake Green failed to knock the ball dead and Johnson manage to ground the ball just inside the field of play.
He converted his own try to give the Sharks a 24 – 4 lead at halftime.
The Sharks delivered more of the same in the second half with Sione Katoa and Jesse Ramien both crossing for two tries each.
Katoa’s first came shortly after halftime.
Johnson collected a Green grubber kick under the posts and beat several Warriors with his footwork.
He then offloaded to Katoa who ran 70 meters to score in the corner.
Green was sent to the sin bin moments later when he was ruled to have taken out Wade Graham in a try scoring situation.
It was then Ramien’s turn when Johnson and Kennedy combined to take advantage of an overlap and put him over in the corner.
Katoa grabbed his second off the back of quick hands again, this time between Johnson and Townsend.
With 5 minutes remaining, Ramien scooped up a loose pass from Tohu Harris to score his second try.
The Warriors scored a late consolation try through Wayde Egan for a final score line of 46 – 10.
The Sharks have an opportunity to build momentum with a match against the Dragons in Round 11.
Things only get tougher for the Warriors who play the Roosters next week.
The Warriors have confirmed that four players, Maumalo, Fusitua, Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa, will return to New Zealand on compassionate grounds at the end of the month.
NRL News Player of the Game
3 – Shaun Johnson
2 – Sione Katoa
1 – Toby Rudolf