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Cronulla Sharks beat Penrith Panthers

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan concedes the Sharks are gaining the benefit of Todd Carney's Origin snubbing after the star playmaker put on a virtuoso performance in a 38-10 drubbing of Penrith on Sunday.

While the brilliant No.6 admits he'll have to play out the rest of the season with a cracked sternum, it hardly seemed to bother him against the Panthers as he gathered a personal haul of 18 points - the absence of skipper Paul Gallen and NSW back-rower Luke Lewis hardly felt thanks to his inspiring display.

The win lifted the Sharks to within one point of fourth-placed Manly, who have a game in hand, and Carney was confident the sternum he cracked in last week's 40-0 hiding by the Sydney Roosters could last the season.

"We just have to manage it and contain it and do the right things to get it right," Carney said of the injury.

"Hopefully with time it will just get better. It feels all right so hopefully when you needle it and put the pad on it, I'm confident it will be right.
Try time. NRL.COM Photos

"It will need time to heal but the time to heal will be from now until next Saturday."

It didn't affect his play or his goalkicking, Carney booting a perfect seven from seven to make it 28 from 29 attempts for the year, his accuracy enough to keep sharpshooter Michael Gordon out of the role.

While admitting it took Carney some weeks to get over his Origin snubbing, Flanagan claimed it had now turned into a positive for the Sharks.

"Definitely. If he played Origin he wouldn't probably be feeling the way he is at the moment," Flanagan said.

"I thought his game was really classy with some of his touches and his passing.

"His goalkicking was outstanding, he's in a really good place at the moment Todd."

The game was as good as over at halftime with the Sharks up 20-0, former Penrith fullback Michael Gordon scoring the opener off a deft ball from another ex-Panther Wade Graham.

Carney did it himself to extend the margin before Sosaia Feki crossed for the first of his double right on halftime, while Gordon's second just after the break all but sealed the deal.

"I didn't think I had a point to prove, I left there on good terms," Gordon said.

"There was no issue for me coming into the game, I just wanted to play well personally after last week."

James Roberts scored a second-half try double but the loss left the Panthers eighth and now in a struggle to make the finals.

"It's knocked a few pegs back now," Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said.

"We've got to play better than that to have any hope, that's probably the first thing."

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