The Canberra Raiders showed tremendous grit in defence to stop a fast-finishing Sharks at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Raiders’ got out to a 12-0 lead going into the second half, but the Sharks came back in the second half scoring 10 answered points.
With the scores 12-10 going in the final minutes, the Raiders gave away a penalty to give the Sharks an opportunity to tie the game, but Sharks’ half, Chad Townsend couldn’t covert, and the Raiders were able to come away with the win.
The Raiders had a dominant first half with their forward pack continuously charging through the middle of the field and their defence keeping the Sharks scoreless. Joe Tapine, Hudson Young, Josh Papalii and Ryan James were especially damaging with ball in hand.
Despite the dominance of the Raiders’ forwards, Cronulla’s goal-line defence was tremendous and the Raiders found it hard to capitalise early on.
It wasn’t until the 23rd minute that the Raiders were able to score - Sebastian Kris going over from close range to put the Green Machine out to a 6-0 lead.
Kris showed terrific skill and determination in the set before he scored, chasing his own kick and dragging Will Kennedy into the Sharks’ in-goal.
The Sharks were starting to gain some momentum as the half went on and forced a Raiders’ line dropout, but Ryan James and Ryan Sutton crunched Aiden Tolman as he returned the kick - forcing him to lose the ball.
The Raiders were looking like they’d only go into the second half with a 6-0 lead, but a cheeky dummy-half run on the stroke of halftime saw Josh Hodgson set up Hudson Young for the Raiders’ second try.
Going into the second half, the Sharks were desperate to put points on the board and after forcing multiple line dropouts they scored in the 54th minute when Will Kennedy pounced on a grubber in the Raiders’ in-goal. Chad Townsend couldn’t convert, leaving the score 12-4.
With 15 minutes to go the Sharks were able to add another two points through a penalty goal after Hudson Young tackled Toby Rudolf off the ball.
Former Raider Josh Dugan continued the Sharks comeback, scoring off a kick in the 74th minute. Chad Townsend failed to convert yet again leaving the Sharks trailing 12-10.
The Raiders gave away a penalty in the dying minutes when Josh Dugan was tackled off the ball, but Townsend missed the kick that would have levelled up the scores.
Canberra Raiders 12 (Tries: S Kris, H Young; Goals: G Willams 2) d Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 10 (Tries: W Kennedy, J Dugan; Goals: C Townsend 1)