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The Cronulla Sharks made it two wins in a row as they beat North Sydney 16-8 at Sharks Stadium in round two of the NSW Cup competition.

In a match riddled with errors, it could have gone the other way if the Bears converted their opportunities, however the Sharks held on to claim a win in front of their home fans.

The Bears were under the pump early in the match, defending their own line after repeat sets through Chad Townsends smart kicking game.

However, it was North Sydney who had the first clear chance. A massive overlap on the right side had Jordan Tongahai unmarked and Darren Nicholls chipped over the defensive line for his winger, but Tongahai elected to wait for the bounce rather than grab the ball on the full and the ball trickled out of play.

Chad Townsends kicking game forced an error from Bears fullback Kieran Vale as he tried to stop a 40-20 from the Cronulla halfback. Sharks took advantage of the field position as they posted the first points of the afternoon through Townsends partner in the halves, Penani Manumalealii. Manumalealii targeted North Sydneys props Tom Burgess and Josh Starling, who were defending next to each other, as he stepped inside the two big men and score next to the posts. Townsend converted to give a 6-0 lead to the home side.

Five minutes later the Sharks were on the attack again after a Tom Burgess dropped ball inside his own half. Cronulla capitalised on the mistake when North Sydneys defenders failed to wrestle Junior Moors to the ground as he got an arm free to offload to Tyrone Peachey, who scored in front of the home fans. Townsend nailed his second attempt of the afternoon and Cronulla were leading 12-0 with just over ten minutes remaining in the half.

North Sydney looked set to hit back when Luke Keary busted through the defensive line and passed to Mitchell Buckett but the centre was tackled metres short of the line, leaving his winger Chris Centrone unmarked outside him.

The missed opportunity looked to have rattled North Sydney as Cronulla went down field the very next set and scored their third try. It was Townsend again in the thick of the action as his ball put fullback Ben Hampton into open space. Hampton unselfishly passed on his outside to Stewart Mills who scored the try. Townsends conversion hit the post and the scores stayed at 16-0 with less than ten minutes remaining in the first half.

North Sydney hit back in the dying minutes of the first half after a run-around play involving Josh Starling and Apisai Koroisau created an overlap in the defensive line. Luke Keary looked to have missed the opportunity when he passed short to Greg Nichols instead of taking advantage of the numbers, but Nichols managed to get an offload to Kieran Vale who outsprinted the covering defenders to the corner. Koroisau missed the conversion attempt from the sideline and the two teams went into the half time interval with Cronulla leading 16-4.

North Sydney started strong in the second half and looked to have scored their second through Kyle Turner five minutes into the second half. Halfback Keary put Turner through a hole in the defense and Ben Hampton pulled off a great covering tackle to stop the backrower inches short and when Turner planted the ball down, the referee pulled it up for double-movement, much to the dismay of Norths' travelling supporters.

Cronulla were in a perfect position to extend the lead when Tony Gigot nailed a beautiful 40-20 from dummy half. However, Gigot threw a poor pass to Manumalealii who fumbled the bouncing ball to let the Bears off the hook.

Replacement forward Jordan Tuivaii, looked to have got North Sydney back in the match when he broke the line ten metres out, but in the act of scoring the try he dropped the ball over the line with just over ten minutes left in the match.

Tuivaii wasnt the only player to miss a golden opportunity to score a try. Soon after, Josh Starling broke through some tired defence and was one-on-one with the opposing fullback. Starling passed the ball to Tom Burgess who dropped the ball, with no one in front of him and only metres short of the try line.

The Bears finally got a second try when Mitchell Buckett scored in the corner. It was Luke Keary who created the try after his catch and pass opened up space for the centre to score with less than five minutes remaining. Apisai Koroisau needed to convert for the Bears to have any chance of salvaging the game. Koroisaus conversion was right on the sideline but he didnt strike it well enough, as it fell short of the posts. Cronulla rode out the final few minutes to win the match 16-8.

Cronulla Sharks 16 (Tyrone Peachey, Penani Manumalealii, Stewart Mills tries; Chad Townsend 2 goals)


North Sydney Bears 8 (Mitch Buckett, Kieran Vale tries; Apisai Koroisau goal)
Acknowledgement of Country

South Sydney Rabbitohs 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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