Sharks strike late to down Rabbitohs
A brilliant late try to Cronulla winger John Williams capped a gutsy 20-7 victory over South Sydney on Saturday night as the Sharks moved closer to sealing a finals berth for the first time since 2008.by NRL
A brilliant late try to Cronulla winger John Williams capped a gutsy 20-7 victory over South Sydney on Saturday night as the Sharks moved closer to sealing a finals berth for the first time since 2008.
Williams scored a 45-metre try on the buzzer after pouncing on a grubber kick from Isaac De Gois who broke the Rabbitohs' line before finding his winger much to the delight of the crowd of 16,423 at Shark Park.
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan told Grandstand his team's gritty defensive performance was the key to victory.
"It was 17 players really committed defensively (that) got the job done," Flanagan said.
"We defended our way to victory."
Cronulla was trailling 7-6 with 12 minutes remaining after Adam Reynolds potted a field goal.
But the Sharks hit the lead in the 69th minute through powerful young forward Tyson Frizell, who barged over to score a converted try before Todd Carney slotted a penalty three minutes from full-time to make it 14-7.
"At 7-6 I thought they went a little bit early. We went a field goal earlier than that as well," Flanagan said.
"I thought a field goal was a bit too early for us and there was still plenty of football to be played and in the end it showed."
Following a host of late finishes involving Souths this year, Sharks fans had a tense run to the siren.
The win lifted Flanagan's side above North Queensland and into fifth place with the Cowboys to play St George Illawarra on Monday night.
Souths have now lost two straight games for the first time this season but remain in third spot.
But Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire was upbeat despite the loss, saying the match was a good workout for the finals series ahead.
"Cronulla definitely got into that arm wrestle and they did it well ... full credit to them," Maguire said.
"It was just one of those games, it was a tough game for us and a good one leading to what's in front of us.
Cronulla led 6-0 at half-time with the Sharks scoring the only four-pointer of the opening 40 minutes through prop Andrew Fifita after great lead-up work by half-back Jeff Robson.
Souths looked completely out of sorts early but did manage to pepper Cronulla's line late in the half only to be repelled by some stoic defence.
The game opened with Souths second-rower Dave Taylor fumbling the kick-off before putting a foot into touch and with the exception of some dangerous kick returns from full-back Greg Inglis, the Rabbitohs looked very flat in attack.
Souths came to life early in the second half and levelled the scores when Sam Burgess powered his way over the line on 54 minutes after a simple switch of the attack by John Sutton but for the most part they were outclassed by Cronulla.
Sharks: 20 (A Fifita, T Frizell, J Williams tries; T Carney 4 goals)
Rabbitohs: 7 (S Burgess try; A Reynolds 1/1 cons; A Reynolds field goal)
Source: ABC Sport
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