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Sharks beat the odds - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Sun, 06 May 2007 13:22:00 GMT
In an ugly and error-riddled encounter at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium, Cronulla scrapped together a 22-20 win over the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday night.

The victory was achieved despite missing the services of their key playmaker and captain, Brett Kimmorley.

In a ferocious match, several players were placed on report for head high tackles, creating headaches for both coaches, while defence training will be on the menu this week after simple errors saw some comical tries conceded.

New Zealand Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said poor attitude was a major factor in his side’s loss.

“It was pretty bad,” Cleary said on nrl.com.

“We took a bit of a step backwards tonight - definitely.

“We didn't have the right attitude tonight and as a result discipline was poor and we just played poorly.”

Moreover, what will be particularly stressing to Clearly would be his side’s inability to hold onto a 14-6 lead, gained just after the half time break.

However, it was Cronulla who took the initiative early on in the match.

Adam Dykes, pulling the strings in Kimmorley’s absence, put a grubber through for a flying Ben Pomeroy to score the try as three Warriors players watched on, all hoping the ball would go over the sideline.

Centre Tony Martin was then put on report for a spear tackle, joining Cronulla’s Lance Thompson who was pulled up for a head high tackle earlier on in the match.

But besides the indiscretion, the men from Auckland were able to steal the lead just before the half time break.

Interchange player Sam Rapira showed an amazing feat of strength, pushing through several Sharks players to put the ball down and afford his side an 8-6 lead.

And it was back-to-back tries for the Warriors just after half time, Michael Witt putting his side in a healthy position.

A high bomb was put in the air, which was completely misjudged by Cronulla’s Luke Covell, with the ball fortunately falling into the hands of the crafty number six for an easy try.

Comfortable and seemingly in command, the Warriors looked good for the two points. But the Sharks had different ideas and unlike last week, Cronulla would not fall short again making their comeback.

And it all started through five-eighth Greg Bird, scoring an almost identical try to the home side’s second. Attacking down New Zealand’s left hand side, a cut out ball found its way to winger Luke Covell who put up a bomb, which was dropped and picked up by Bird to score.

Bird then got his second try of the night shortly afterwards, somehow burrowing his way through some stiff Warriors defence and putting his side back into the lead, 16-14.

And the comeback was complete just after the hour mark, another Warriors mix up costing the home side dearly.

Attacking close to New Zealand’s line, Adam Dykes placed a grubber kick in between the sticks with two Warriors players getting their wires mixed, neither dealing with the danger and Misi Taulapapa taking advantage and extending Cronulla’s lead to 22-14.

A try to Warriors second rower Louis Anderson provided some late drama for the locals, but it was too little too late as the Sharks held on for a gutsy victory.

There was time, however, for another player to book his seat at the judiciary, Nathan Fien’s high shot on Ben Ross getting the hooker into hot water.

After the game, Sharks coach Ricky Stuart was happy with his side’s victory, saying it was a vast improvement to last week’s effort.

“It was the type of game we knew we had to play with so many disruptions throughout the week. I am just really happy for the players,” Stuart said on nrl.com.
“I was really happy for them because they were very tough mentally ... we didn't have that type of hunger and attitude last week.”
The win is a timely morale booster for the Sharks, with an encounter against reigning premiers the Brisbane Broncos lined up for next week, while the Warriors will need to fix their defensive mix ups for their big match up against the knights. - Read More, Here