Rugby League

Sharks dig deep to run down Warriors in Auckland

March 8, 2024 7:20 pm

[Source: NRL]

The Sharks launched their 2024 season in style with a courageous comeback to down the Warriors 16-12 at Go Media Stadium tonight.

The Sharks headed to Auckland having lost their opening round game in nine of the past 10 seasons but after conceding two early tries they dug deep to keep the Warriors scoreless for the next 67 minutes.

A six-again call against Cam McInnes for a ruck infringement in the eighth minute put the Sharks on the back foot and they were unable to stem the tide when Addin Fonua-Blake powered over from close range. Shaun Johnson converted for a 6-0 Warriors lead.

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Come the 13th minute and it was Warriors five-eighth Luke Metcalf who embarrassed the Sharks defence with some fancy footwork and the home side had doubled their advantage.

A superb trysaving tackle by Will Kennedy on Jackson Ford denied the Warriors a a third try soon after but a penalty against Ronaldo Mulitalo for a mid-air tackle on Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on the next play kept the heat on the visitors.

Both teams then traded errors before Siosifa Talakai looked like opening Cronulla’s account before his opposing centre Rocco Berry produced a trysaver to keep the Warriors’ line intact.

With five minutes remaining in the first term the Sharks struck back when Jesse Ramien burrowed over from dummy half and Braydon Trindall converted to make it 12-6.

The Sharks carried that momentum into the second half with prolific tryscorer Ronaldo Mulitalo crossing in the left corner in the 42nd minute to cut the margin to two points.

A mistake in the play-the-ball by Dale Finucane in the 54th minute gave the Warriors field position and they earned six more tackles through a neat Shaun Johnson grubber but the Sharks deployed the short dropout and got possession back.

That play proved critical as the Sharks went to the other end of the field and took the lead through a try to Talakai, who handled twice in a movement that also featured Nicho Hynes and Mulitalo.

Trailing 16-12 the Warriors lost hooker Wayde Egan to an elbow injury but managed to hang tough until the 76th minute when a mistake by Oregon Kaufusi gave them a golden opportunity to attack and Johnson earned them a repeat set with a grubber.

From there the Sharks continued to stand tall in defence and kept the Warriors at bay to come away with a morale-boosting victory.