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Sharks in solid win over Newcastle

July 14 2012

by Jodie Newell

The Cronulla Sharks have returned to the winners list after decisively beating the Newcastle Knights 46-32 and in doing so, have reignited their finals aspirations.

In excellent conditions at Henson Park, the Sharks were aided by a steady breeze and jumped out of the blocks quickly. Halfback Chad Townsend opened the scoring with a superb chip kick and chase and follow-up conversion.

Townsend was again involved in the next set of points when he crafted a slick pass to team mate Sam Tagatese. The extras were added and Cronulla had sprinted out to a 12-0 lead.

Newcastle seemed dazed by the constant attack from Cronulla and were in big trouble when forward Josh Cordoba burst over the try-line. Chad Townsend had his kicking boots on and the lead was increased to 18-0

The Knights worked hard at getting back into to the game with Cronulla’s defence working overtime to keep out the determined Newcastle attack. The persistence shown by the Knights paid off when Kevin Naiqama passed to Josh Mantellato who scored. Facing a tricky breeze, Mantellato was unable to convert but his side was on the board and back in the game 18-4.

The Sharks were being put under constant pressure and made several handling errors allowing the Knights to get back into the game. Junior Sa’u took full advantage with a great baulking run into the try zone with Mantellato kicking truly and the score was pegged back at 18-10. 

In what could reasonably be described as a major turning point in the game, the Knights gave up possession, when it should have been a fresh set of six tackles on the restart. Cronulla punished the mistake when Maurice Blair scored and the Sharks went into the break with a handy 22-10 lead.

Knights coach Rip Taylor decided to leave his team out of the sheds during the break and on the field. He was clearly unhappy with his team’s effort and demanded a better performance.

The second half could have been a dream start for the Knights when Scott Briggs broke though and stormed towards the tryline only to fumble and turn the ball over to the Sharks.

Cronulla again punished the mistake with a John Williams try and Townsend conversion.

The Sharks weren't finished with their punishment of Newcastle. Thanks to a series of slick passes and finishing off by Townsend and try by Sosaia Feki the Sharks moved out to a twenty four point lead.

Shark Tyrone Peachey joined in the scoring rout with a superb chase down of a Chad Townsend chip kick, who converted leaving the Knights out on a limb 40-10.

The game was put out of Newcastle’s reach when Sam Tagatese scored his second try of the day.Townsend successfully converted putting Cronulla thirty six points ahead.

Newcastle were able to post late consolation tries from Mitch Williams, Adrian Davis and Michale Mate but it was a classic case of too little too late and Cronulla ran out winners 46 - 32.

Cronulla coach in Tony Herman was well pleased in his team’s performance “They (Newcastle) are a very, very good side and I thought our middle was strong. We worked hard, we punched a few holes in their defence, built momentum and we put on some good footy”

Cronulla face the down and out winless Wests Magpies at Campbelltown next week, whilst Newcastle will be looking for a much needed win when they take on the Windsor Wolves at home.

Final score:  Cronulla 46 defeated Newcastle 32

Tries Cronulla : S Tagatese 2, J Williams, S Feki, C Townsend, M Blair, J Cordoba, T Peachey

Tries Knights : M Mate, J Mantellato, J Sau, A Davis, M Williams, S Withyman

Conversions Cronulla : C Townsend 7

Conversions Knights : J Mantellato 4

Chad Townsend was superb in Cronulla’s 14 point win over Newcastle

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