Match Report: Raiders suffer defeat to Sharks
The Cronulla Sharks have defeated the Canberra Raiders 28-24 at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Friday night.
The Sharks were able to convert their 66% of possession in the first half into a 22-6 halftime lead before holding off the Raiders' second-half comeback.
Less than four minutes into the game Jordan Rapana was sent to the sin bin for illegally slowing down the play the ball after the Sharks recovered a Brad Abbey-dropped ball.
Minutes later Andrew Fifita burst through the Raiders' defensive line to score under the posts.
Cronulla doubled their lead when they created numbers on the left to put Edrick Lee away who then drew the fullback and passed the ball back inside to Ricky Leutele who scored.
When the Raiders got some possession of their own they immediately capitalised, with Rapana making a break from dummy half before laying it off for Joey Leilua who passed it back inside to the try-scorer Brad Abbey.
The Sharks crossed again when Valentine Holmes dummied and stepped his way inside Michael Oldfield to extend Cronulla's lead.
In the shadows of halftime, the Sharks were over again when Wade Graham dived through four Raiders defenders from dummy half to extend their lead to 22-6 at the break.
Less than 90 seconds after kicking off for the second half the Raiders scored when Blake Austin quick tapped and got himself over the line and as six Cronulla defenders held him up he dropped the ball back to Leilua who scored.
After making a break down the righthand side Elliott Whitehead's quick play the ball allowed Josh Hodgson to run from dummy half and find Leilua who crossed for his second try of the game.
The Sharks' fifth try came in bizarre circumstances when the touch judge raised his flag and the referee put the whistle to his mouth, leading to the Canberra players stopping, only for the referee to call play on after Sione Katoa had already run through the stationary defenders and over the try line.
The Raiders looked to have hit back in the 70th minute through Abbey only for it to be called back after it was ruled Leilua's long cross-field pass in the lead up was forward.
With the minutes counting down the Raiders played some hot potato football on last tackle which involved Sam Williams running the width of the field and finished with Rapana crashing his way over.
Cronulla Sharks 28 (Tries: Fifita, Leutele, Holmes, Graham, Katoa Goals: Townsend 4/6) def
Canberra Raiders 24 (Tries: Leilua 2, Abbey, Rapana Goals: Williams 4/4)