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Wests Tigers suffered a very disappointing 46-6 loss to Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval today in round 22 of the NSW Cup.

The match marked the return from injury of Wests Tigers NRL players Matt Bell and Lote Tuqiri, who both came through unscathed.

It was the Wests Tigers heaviest loss of the season in the NSW Cup and sees the team slip from sixth to seventh place on the ladder after Auckland beat Canterbury. Four rounds remain before the finals.

Wests Tigers created several tryscoring opportunities in the opening 10 minutes but could not capitalise against the benchmark team of the competition.

The Sharks opened the scoring when the ball was spread right through several hands for winger Daniel Moroko to dive over in the right corner for a 4-0 lead. Half-back Chad Townsend converted the try for a 6-0 lead after 11 minutes.

Wests Tigers again created more opportunities inside the Sharks quarter five minutes later but to no avail.

Cronulla made the most of their pressure by building pressure on Wests Tigers and it paid off when second-rower Tupou Sopoaga crashed through two defenders to score near the posts. Townsend converted to give Cronulla a 12-0 lead after 22 minutes.

Two minutes later, the Sharks spread the ball left to find open space before sending full-back Nathan Gardner over next to the posts to finish off an 80 metre try for a 16-0 lead. Townsend converted the try for an 18-0 lead.

Gardner scored his second try a minute later when he ran off an inside ball to score for a 22-0 lead. Townsend converted the try for a 24-0 scoreline.

Unforced errors and some lazy defence are hurting Wests Tigers badly.

Just when the first half frustration couldn't get any worse for Wests Tigers Coach Paul Fletcher, a crossfield kick by Townsend saw Moroko kick the ball forward for centre Stewart Mills to score as the half-time siren sounded for a 28-0 lead. Townsend converted his fifth goal to give the Sharks a 30-0 lead.

2nd Half

Moroko scored his second try when Townsend sent the ball to Mills who beat Tuqiri to send his winger over for a 34-0 lead. Townsend converted his sixth goal from six attempts for a 36-0 scoreline.

Wests Tigers got on the board when full-back Sean Meaney sent winger Matt Utai over in the right corner. Meaney converted the try to leave Wests Tigers trailing 36-6.

A crossfield kick by Townsend saw second-rower Kirisome Auva'a catch the ball on the full to then beat one defender to score behind the poss. Townsend converted the try to give Cronulla a 42-6 lead.

Wests Tigers conceded a soft try when lock Tyrone Peachey threw a dummy to score from dummy half for a 46-6 lead. Townsend failed to convert the try from close range.
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Wests Tigers 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.

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