NRL: Wests Tigers lose 36-22 to Sharks

Wests Tigers suffered a 36-22 loss to Cronulla Sharks at Sharks Stadium tonight in round 17 of the Telstra Premiership.


Cronulla dominated the first half to lead 24-0 at half-time before Wests Tigers hit back to get within eight points late in the match until former Wests Tigers player and now NSW prop Andrew Fifita scored his second try to secure the two competition points for the home side.


The Sharks opened the scoring in the 10th minute when a grubber kick by five-eighth Todd Carney saw second-rower and captain Wade Graham score. Carney converted for a 6-0 lead.


Five minutes later, Wests Tigers had their first real attacking chance inside Cronullas quarter but a pass from five-eighth Benji Marshall to winger Tim Simona went into touch.


Cronulla went to a 10-0 lead in the 19th minute when Carney blocked a short kick from Wests Tigers captain and hooker Robbie Farah five metres out from his own tryline. He picked it up to race to half-way before throwing a pass back for Nathan Stapleton to beat the desperate cover tackle of forward Ava Seumanfagai to race 50 metres to score. Carney converted for a 12-0 lead.


A 40/20 kick by Carney in the 21st minute set up Cronullas third try two minutes later when he produced a crossfield kick for centre Luke Lewis to outleap Chris Lawrence to pull the ball down to fall over the line for a 16-0 lead. Carney converted for an 18-0 lead.


Cronulla went to a 22-0 lead when prop Andrew Fifita hit a gap before stepping past full-back James Tedesco to score a 40 metre try next to the posts. Carney converted for a 24-0 lead which the Sharks took into half-time.


2nd Half

Wests Tigers started the second half off on the perfect note when Farah split the defence from dummy half to race downfield to pass inside for full-back James Tedesco to score next to the posts. Marshall converted the try to leave Wests Tigers trailing 24-6 after 44 minutes.


Three minutes later, Wests Tigers second-rower Bodene Thompson pushed off a defender to score out wide after a nice pass from Marshall for a 24-10 scoreline. Marshall failed to convert the try.


A Farah chip kick over the top saw the ball kicked through for winger Stewart Mills to slip over for Wests Tigers winger Tim Simona to fall on the ball to score. Marshall converted the try to leave Wests Tigers trailing 24-16 after 55 minutes.


Cronulla took advantage of a failure by Marshall to find touch from a penalty kick and then a penalty for a high tackle to get two sets of six inside the Wests Tigers quarter.


The momentum shifted and the pressure told in the end when forward Jayson Bukuya scored out wide. Carney converted the try to give the Sharks a 30-16 lead after 63 minutes.


A minute later, Simona scored his second try when Farah and Lawrence combined to send the winger over in the left corner for a 30-20 scoreline. Marshall converted to leave Wests Tigers trailing 30-22 with 14 minutes remaining.


Two minutes later, Wests Tigers were denied a try to Lawrence when the video referee ruled Ben Murdoch-Masila took a Cronulla player out in the defensive line.


Fifita secured victory for Cronulla when he charged his way over next to the posts in the 77th minute. Carney converted the try for the 36-22 scoreline.