By Jackson Russell at Remondis Stadium
Cronulla Sharks picked up an important 25-18 against the North Sydney Bears at home to keep them inside the top eight.
With both sides heavily depleted due to injuries and NRL commitments, the Sharks started strong early, taking the game away from the Bears.
Early tries through Suliasi Vunivalu, Valentine Holmes and Penani Manumalealii had the Cronulla side up 18-0 after just 12 minutes.
With the first 20 minutes played predominantly in North Sydney’s half, the Bears took their first shot at the Sharks line with open arms when Joe Picker busted over to make the score 18-6.
The rest of the half flowed back and forth with each side having the chance to claim points however neither could capitalize going into the break still at 18-6.
In the second half the Bears came out of the gates strongly creating pressure with repeat sets on the Sharks line. The pressure Bears applied paid off with a try to Jordan Worboys after a show-and-go to put the Bears in the hunt at 18-12 after 49 minutes.
North Sydney, looked likely to lock things up having a run of possession but errors let them down and Cronulla took advantage of this with Tim Robinson breaking the line and getting the ball to lock Dean Britt to touchdown under the post for a 24-12 lead in the 61st minute.
The Bears weren’t done with however, camping on the Sharks line for Mark O’Dare to get over in the 67th minute to make the score 24-18.
The final 10 minutes saw the Sharks defending their line with North Sydney looking likely to cross however, getting the ball into the Bears half Cronulla number seven Manumalealii, slotted a field goal to take the game away and give his side a 25-18 win.
For Cronulla half Manumalealii was the difference leading his side in a commanding fashion, while Valentine Holmes looked a threat with the ball and Junior Roqica ran hard all match.
While the Bears half Worboys had a strong showing, as did Nathaniel Neale and winger Mark O’Dare tried hard all game.
Next week see’s Cronulla travel to WIN Stadium to take on the Cutters while North Sydney hosts Newtown at North Sydney Oval.
Cronulla Sharks 25 (V Holmes, D Britt, P Manumalealii, S Vunivalu tries; V Holmes 4 goals; P Manumalealii field goal) def. North Sydney Bears 18 (M O'Dare, J Picker, J Worboys tries; K Aldridge 3 goals) at Remondis Stadium.