Sharks sink NZ Warriors in Auckland

Cronulla have held of a late Warriors fight-back to close out an 18-14 win and consolidate their position in the NRL top eight.

With five-eighth Todd Carney and returning skipper Paul Gallen leading the way, the Sharks lifted themselves to fifth with the result in Auckland on Saturday.

However the Bulldogs have the chance to go back above them when they face St George Illawarra on Monday night.

For the Warriors, the defeat was just their second in nine matches, but it meant they spurned the chance to get into the top eighth for the first time this year.

The home side paid for their lack of polish on execution on attack at vital times.

But they did manage to set up a grandstand finish with two late tries.

Sharks sink Warriors. Photo. NZTV
Centre Konrad Hurrell got the first with 11 minutes to go when he barged over after the Warriors' best attack of the game.

Winger Manu Vatuvei chimed in with his second of the night five minutes later after he hauled in a Shaun Johnson bomb.

Johnson's conversion cut the margin to four points and the five-eighth then made a big break but his pass to an unmarked Hurrell was wayward.

Cronulla were first on the board on 10 minutes, thanks to some great slight-of-hand from second-rower Wade Graham, whose well-timed pass put centre Jonathan Wright into a hole for a try.

They went further after Warriors second-rower Feleti Mateo was unlucky to knock on while diving on a ball the Sharks had spilled.

From the ensuing scrum, centre Ben Pomeroy nabbed a soft try after getting an inside ball from Gallen and scoring without a hand on him.

The Warriors finally had the home fans in the 15,209 crowd roaring five minutes later.

With a penalty giving them some field position, they worked the ball to Vatuvei, who powered over through traffic.

Up 10-4 at half-time, the Sharks scored an important try seven minutes into the second spell through a piece of counter-attacking opportunism.

Johnson's final-tackle kick in midfield ricocheted into the arms of Cronulla second-rower Andrew Fifita.

Halfback Jeff Robson carried on the move and his big cross-field pass found Pomeroy, whose offload was snapped up by winger Nathan Stapleton to dot down.

However, the try came at a cost, with Pomeroy's head bouncing on the turf as he was tackled and he had to be stretchered off.

Cronulla could have gone further ahead three minutes later, but winger Sosaia Feki was adjudged to have been outside the field of play when he nimbly kicked ahead before following up to touch down.

However, a Carney penalty minutes later nudged the margin out to 14 points.

AAP

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