The Cronulla Sharks have held on for a 32-18 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons in a game that will leave both sets of fans wanting more from their teams.
Five of the eight tries came after teams failed to diffuse kicks coming their way, the Sharks had a player sin-binned and the Dragons were twice denied by the bunker, including a critical second-half call that would have seen them take a lead in the 62nd minute.
Life as Dragons captain started roughly for halfback Ben Hunt, who kicked the ball out of the reach of Matt Dufty as the fullback tried to clean up a grubber in the in-goal, allowing Josh Dugan to score against his old team in the third minute.
There was more pain for the Dragons 10 minutes later, when Will Kennedy’s kick slipped through the hands of Tariq Sims on the tryline and Kennedy followed through to score the Sharks’ second.
Trent Merrin almost handed the Sharks another one with a sloppy effort in the in-goal and Poasa Faamausili had a similar mistake at the other end, failing to ground a grubber that would have given the Dragons their first.
Leading 14-0 at half-time, Cronulla generously gave the Dragons a taste of their own medicine just after the break when they let Hunt’s bomb bounce into the hands of halves partner Adam Clune, who dove in under the posts.
The Dragons were on the charge when Dufty went 50 metres through the middle, running rings around Kennedy en route to the line, and thought they had hit the lead 10 minutes later.
Another bomb was allowed to find the grass by the Sharks and Sione Katoa was hit hard as he tried to collect the ball on the bounce, he lost control and Cody Ramsey touched down, copping a leg injury in the process.
Making matters worse, the try was taken off them by the bunker, which found a knock-on by Jack Bird as he knocked the ball loose while tackling Katoa.
And the rugby league gods piled on, with Ronald Mulitalo going up the other end and scoring off a double-kick for a 12-point turnaround.
Kennedy scored his second three minutes later, Mikaele Ravalawa answered with another try off a cross-field kick, but prop Aaron Woods crashed over with five minutes left to ice the win.
Raiders run away from Tigers late in 30-12 win
The Canberra Raiders and Wests Tigers were in a scrap for 40 minutes of their clash at Canberra Stadium, before the Raiders finished with four tries in a hurry to win 30-12.
The teams were tied at 6-6 at half-time but prop Canberra forward Ryan James, playing his first game in almost two years due to multiple knee reconstructions, touched down immediately after the break.
That was followed by four-pointers to Hudson Young, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Jordan Rapana that sealed the victory.
The Tigers also crossed in the 72nd minute through David Nofoaluma, but it was fair too little in an error-riddled game.