A penalty goal was the difference between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs tonight (Monday) at Sharks Stadium, with 12,243 Members and supporters seeing the Sharks score a 14-12 win over the top-of-the-table Rabbitohs.


The Sharks were the first side to post points through hooker John Morris. On the back of three repeat sets, Morris slid across field in front of the posts, dummying and finding a small hole. He struggled to get the ball to the turf, but the video referee awarded the try, and Todd Carney's conversion gave the home side a six-nil lead.


Both sides were crunching each other in defence, not giving their opponent any room to move.


A towering bomb from Adam Reynolds caused young Sharks winger Sosaia Feki all sorts of problems, and he knocked the ball on 12 metres out from his line.


The Rabbitohs would make the Sharks pay for their error, scoring three plays later in the left hand corner. Quick hands from Greg Inglis and Dylan Walker saw Bryson Goodwin slide over against his former Club, and Adam Reynolds' sideline conversion leveled the scores at six-all.


The two combatants would then begin to slug it out, both on the ground and in the air. Some big hits in defence and frighteningly-tall bombs kept both sides on their toes.


The Rabbitohs' forwards seemed to be gaining ascendency, but the visitors couldn't turn that advantage into points.


A clever drop out from Adam Reynolds that found touch over the head of Beau Ryan gave the Rabbitohs more possession, but again they couldn't post points.


Isaac De Gois was held up for the Sharks in the 32nd minute by Ben Lowe, but three plays later they scored through Jayson Bukuya who picked up a rebounded Todd Carney grubber kick. Carney converted to give the Sharks a 12-6 lead after 34 minutes.


Sam Burgess was put on report for an awkward looking tackle in the 35th minute of play, but the Rabbitohs were able to hold out the Sharks from the ensuing attacking set.


The Sharks tried to mount one final attacking raid in the final minute, but the long range field goal traveled under the crossbar, and the Sharks went into half time leading 12-6.


The Burgess Brothers were leading the way in the first half, with George running for 72 metres from nine runs and Sam completing 21 tackles.


The Rabbitohs would get the upper hand early in the second half courtesy of a Sharks error under the high ball and a perfect grubber kick from Chris McQueen to the left hand corner to force a goal line drop out.


From the ensuing set of six, the Rabbitohs worked the ball to the left before switching play back to the centre of the field. Sutton found Reynolds who put Sam Burgess into a hole, who went on to beat three defenders to score to the right of the uprights in the 44th minute. Reynolds converted to level the scores at 12-all.


The Sharks earned themselves an attacking raid when the Rabbitohs spilt a bomb in front of their own posts, and then were given a penalty in front of the sticks. Carney kicked the 59th minute penalty goal to establish a two-point lead for the home side with just over a quarter of the game to go.


Cronulla attacked again on the back of another penalty in the next set of play, but a forward pass thwarted a possible Andrew Fifita try in the right hand corner.


Ill-discipline was killing the Rabbitohs, with penalties and poor handling ending a number of chances they had of working the ball out of their own end.


The Rabbitohs were firing up, led by the Englishman Sam Burgess, but repeated penalties were letting the pressure off the Sharks and piling it straight back on to South Sydney.


The Rabbitohs had a chance to mount an attacking raid in the 75th minute when the Sharks kicked out on the full, but a mistake on the second tackle let Cronulla off the hook again. The Sharks earned a goal line drop out from the next set.


The Rabbitohs worked hard to get to the other end of the field with two minutes left on the clock, and they muscled up in defence, but a great clearing kick from Carney left the Rabbitohs 90 metres to go in the final minute if they were to steal the two points.


Adam Reynolds put up a huge bomb deep in Sharks territory, and the ball was allowed to bounce causing a scramble for the ball, but the Sharks were awarded a penalty which put the game beyond doubt.


The Sharks had secured a 14-12 win at home, but the Rabbitohs remain at the top of the premiership ladder.


Sam Burgess was the Rabbitohs strongest player, tallying 36 tackles and 17 runs for 154 metres.


Poor handling and penalties hurt the Rabbitohs, and they will need to improve before taking on the Newcastle Knights in five days time.


Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 14 (John Morris, Jayson Bukuya tries; Todd Carney three goals)


defeated


South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 (Bryson Goodwin, Sam Burgess tries; Adam Reynolds 2 goals)