Nicho Hynes celebrates his match-winning conversion in 18-16 win over the Parramatta Eels

In slippery conditions at WIN Stadium, it was a night to remember for the Cronulla Sharks who emerged 36-12 victors in the local derby against the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Although the Dragons were able to mount some sort of comeback, it was not enough as the Sharks eventually ran away with the game.

The match could not have started any worse for the Dragons who lost Jaydn Su’a to the sin-bin for a high tackle for the second straight week.

A lovely flick pass from Jesse Ramien on the right edge brought about the first points with Sione Katoa getting outside his man to score.

Hynes was able to convert the try and the Sharks went up 6-0 with the extra man.

Some quick hands on the left edge this time saw Matt Ikuvalu score in the corner, his first try in Sharks colours’.

The Sharks had a third try before the break on the back of a perfectly weighted crossfield kick from Hynes that saw Siosifa Talakai jump highest to score.

Needing a momentum shift, the Dragons got it soon after the resumption.

A tremendous line from Jack Bird made Ben Hunt’s life easy with a lovely short pass enough for the back-rower to storm over and score.

The Sharks regained the ascendancy on the back of an error by the Dragons courtesy of a try to Ramien.

Blayke Brailey then showed his skills with a deft kick from dummy half that saw Braden Hamlin-Uele win the race and score.

Nicho Hynes then hit the switch and turned the afterburners on to split the Dragons’ soft middle to score his first Sharks’ try.

Ramien would finish the night on the sidelines after he was sin-binned for high contact on Jack Gosiewski.

Gosiewski would be able to stay on the field, however, and was able to pounce on Ben Hunt’s grubber to narrow the deficit.

It was a night to forget for the Dragons and some of their young stars but a game to remember for the Sharks.

Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon, who missed last week’s game because of Covid, was impressed with how his side capitalised on their chances and field possession.

“I thought the Dragons were really physical and got stuck into us, it wasn’t easy out there,” Fitzgibbon said.

“When we got field position we executed quite well, we had the knack of making the most of our opportunities tonight.”

Dragons coach Anthony Griffin did not mince his words; the Sharks were better in his eyes and deserved the win.

“You’ve got to give Cronulla some credit, they were outstanding particularly their defensive effort,” Griffin said.

“Their transition, kick chase and kick return, they were a lot better than us.’

“We’re a lot better than that, we were poor tonight. We’ll have a look at it, maybe we spent a lot of juice last week.”

Cronulla Sharks 36 (Katoa, Ikuvalu, Ramien, Talakai, Hamlin-Uele & Hynes; goals: Hynes 5) def. St George Illawarra Dragons 12 (Bird, Gosiewski; goals: Lomax 2).

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Nicho Hynes (CRO)

2. Siosifa Talakai (CRO)

1. Blayke Brailey (CRO)

Cronulla Sharks back-rower Siosifa Talakai

By ricky

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