By Jamie Anderson
Doubles to Nathan Stapleton and Travis Robinson helped the Cronulla Sharks to a 22 win against the Wyong Roos on Sunday.
A match that the Sharks were expected to win, Cronulla took some time to find their feet and come to grips with the Roos up and in style of defence.
In fact it was the home side who struck first when in the 10th minute, Mitch Williams jumped out of dummy half and caught the Sharks blindside defence napping, with the ball eventually ending up in Dale Clacherty’s hands and the winger did the rest.
Wyong did not help their own cause though when in the 18th minute, a brilliant 40/20 by the Sharks was not allowed to be taken quickly when Corrigan interfered with the quick tap as he was attempting to retreat into the defensive line. Referee Luke Phillips had no other choice but to give the former Rabbitoh 10 minutes to think about it.
The Sharks were making hard work of having the extra man though as a lack of execution and patience saw them set to not score a point with the extra man on the park.
But just before Corrigan returned to the park, in the 28th minute, Travis Robinson drew his defender and gave the ball to his outside man in Stapleton who duly scored what would be his first of two on the day.
Stapleton brilliantly converted his own try from the sideline and the visitors took a lead that they would never relinquish.
The only other try of the first forty came in the 33rd minute when Nathan Gardner set his sights on the corner and won the race, a reward for perseverance after the diminutive fullback had been bundled into touch in almost the same circumstances just minutes earlier.
Leading it 12-4 at half time, the Sharks returned to the park looking a bit more polished than they had done in the opening forty minutes, and you had the sense it was only a matter of time until they extended their lead.
And so it was when in the 46th minute, a sublime ball by Junior Moors close to the Roos line, gave Sione Masima an unimpeded run to the tryline.
It was more of the same five minutes later when another Roos error simply handed the Sharks ball 30m out and a quick shift left with the Roos players caught out of position, saw Stapleton dot down for number two.
Now leading it 24-4 it appeared a matter of by how far for the visitors, and despite a further Sharks try in the 60th minute to Robinson, two quickfire tries to the Roos through Corrigan and Molan left the scoreboard reading 28-16 with a tick over 10 minutes left.
With a grandstand finish now looming, the modest crowd on hand began to dream of what would be an amazing comeback, however this dream was short lived.
Late tries to VB NSW Cup debutant, Dean Britt, and a second on the day to Travis Robinson handed the Sharks a 22 point final margin that was probably more indicative of their dominance over the course of the match.
Next weekend the Roos travel to Brookvale on Saturday to take on Manly while the Sharks are back at Remondis and they will take on North Sydney.
Cronulla Sharks 38 (T Robinson 2, N Stapleton 2, S Masima, D Britt, N Gardner tries; N Stapleton 5 goals) def. Wyong Roos 16 (B Molan, D Clacherty, S Corrigan tries; M Williams 2 goals) at Morry Breen Oval.