By Jackson Russell at Henson Park
Defending premiers Cronulla Sharks picked up a vital away win in a convincing 36-16 victory over the Newtown Jets at Henson Park.
Cronulla were at their dominant best for large parts of the match on the back of hard running from forwards Junior Moors, Jordan McLean and Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Late call up Valentine Holmes announced himself as a future NRL star, giving the Jets defence nightmares with his attacking raids.
The Sharks were on the board early when Holmes drew two defenders for Blake Ayshford to get over and go 6-0 up after four minutes.
On the back of a penalty, the Sharks were on the score sheet again two minutes later. Hooker Scott Sorensen darting over from close to the line for a 12-0 lead.
Junior Moors took a strong run to get over for an 18-0 lead before the 15-minute mark and the Shire boys had the Jets rattled.
However they struck back through five-eight Samisoni Langi, who took on the Sharks defence close to the line to get his side on track at 18-6.
Almost immediately after, Newtown big man Saulala Houma who had just entered the game was over and it looked like Jets were back in the mix at 18-10.
As the halftime whistle neared, Holmes took on the Jets defence from a kick return giving the Sharks a roll on and a bust from Asofa-Solomona who found Holmes to get his first of the afternoon for the sides to go in at 24-10 at the break.
The second half started as a back and forth affair with both teams looking for opportunities with the Jets looking the most likely to get over.
Eventually they found a way through the Sharks defence with winger Brett Lane reaching out, out wide to take it to 24-16.
Cronulla weren’t about to let Newtown back into the game though and when they got a chance close to the line Holmes made sure they would come away with the points getting away from would be defenders to touchdown and take it to 30-16.
From here Cronulla were in control again, and when the lightning quick Holmes found a gap he sprinted away for a 50 metre try and a hat trick seeing his side take a 36-16 win as the shades crept over Henson Park.
Next week see’s Newtown heading to the foot of the mountains to take on competition leading Penrith Panthers, while Cronulla will look to continue their winning run when they face the Mounties as part of the double header at Belmore Sports Ground.
Cronulla Sharks 36 (V Holmes 3, J Moors, B Ayshford, S Sorensen tries; V Holmes 6 goals) def. Newtown Jets 16 (S Langi, S Houma, B Lane tries; A Taumata, R Martin goals) at Henson Park.