You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

The ladder-leading Cronulla Sharks have dealt the finals aspirations of the Canberra Raiders U20s a gruelling blow in cruising to a 58-22 win in the NYC at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday evening.

It was a gallant opening half in which Cronulla raced to six tries to Canberra’s two to have the game all but sewn up at 30-10 at the break after a brilliant opening 40 from Raiders hooker Erin Clark.

The Sharks drew first blood two minutes in when second-row Briton Nikora crossed on the right edge before Kyle Flanagan added the extras to hand the hosts a 6-0 lead.

The back-rower had a double when he barraged his over from close range six minutes later, before Clark split Cronulla up the middle with an explosive dart from dummy-half.

Centre Andre Niko was brought to ground on the right edge deep in Sharks territory after a series of inventive offloads, but it was again the home side who would impact on the scoreboard.

First came a try on the left edge to second-row Tony Matautia in the 13th minute, before Nikora clinched a hat-trick of tries four minutes later when he again found the white line to the right of the posts.

Flanagan converted Nikora’s third four-pointer to hand the Sharks a 20-0 buffer, but Clark then continued to impress amid the early disappoint when he burrowed his way over from dummy-half.

Niko made no mistake from the tee to make things 20-6, but the Sharks wasted no time in revealing their teeth once again.

Fullback William Kennedy swooped on a grubber sent skidding inside his side’s own 20m area, before slicing through the Raiders’ defence and offloading to five-eighth Luke Metcalf who would race away for a converted try in the 25th minute.

The Sharks continued to pile on the pressure when Matautita collected his second try of the night to extend his side’s lead to 30-6, but it was the Green Machine who would head into half-time with the last laugh.

Captain Jack Murchie steamed on to a Paul Roach short ball in Cronulla territory to race away for a converted try on the right edge and make things 30-10 at the break.

The sides exchanged blows early in the second stanza, Kennedy first gathering a fortunate deflection to cross to the left of the posts four minutes in before Murchie sliced through on the left edge a minute later.

Niko added the extras to reduce the deficit to 20 points at 36-16, before the sides again traded punches.

Flanagan picked up a try off the back of a powerful Daniel Vasquez hit-up, but the Green Machine would again grit its teeth when prop Emre Guler willed his way over from close range after a full-throttle set of six before Niko converted to make things 40-22.

The Sharks would respond with another three tries late in the game to pocket their 16th consecutive victory.

The Raiders will eye off a return to the winners’ circle when they travel to New Zealand to face the Warriors next Sunday.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.