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The Cronulla Sharks have come from 16-8 down at half time to take a 24-16 victory against the Canberra Raiders at a cold and blustery GIO Stadium in the nation's capital.
The first half started in almost the worst possible way for the Raiders who couldn't complete their opening two sets of the game but they got the benefit of the biggest mistake of the game when Valentine Holmes took his time to let the ball roll dead. The problem for Holmes was that Nick Cotric was charging behind him and dived low and got the ball down in just the nick of time to open the Raiders scoring.
The Sharks opening try was also an unorthodox try with Valentine Holmes making amends for his error to begin the game by taking a Blake Austin bomb on his own 30 metre line before finding space in the staggered chase line to race through and score a long range effort. Chad Townsend added a penalty goal not long after but it was the Raiders who cracked the scoreboard next after a string of three penalties Blake Austin found a gap and was knocked down and suffered an ankle injury in the process but stil reached out and got the ball down. The Raiders added two penalty goals before half time and took a 16-8 lead to the break.
The second half was all about lead protection for the Raiders and it didn't work at all with the Raiders unable to score a point in the second half and the Sharks came back into he game after 16 minutes of the second half when debutant Jack Williams backed up perfectly off a Valentine Holmes tap back to score and with Townsend's conversion the Sharks were back within two.
The Raiders got back to back penalties to go on the attack but it was the Sharks who scored next to take the lead when Sosaia Feki found space outside on the left and poor defence from the Raiders gave Feki a clear passage to the corner to get the ball down and despite the missed conversion they took the lead.
Canberra looked as if they had no idea on how they were going to get back to the lead and the game plan went out the book with poor plays getting them upfield and when they did get some luck and good attacking position the ball ended up going back the other way with James Segeyaro taking an intercept before finding Valentine Holmes who sealed the victory in the final minute. Next weekend, the Raiders have a trip out to the Central West to Mudgee to take on the Dragons whilst the Sharks host the Bulldogs next Sunday afternoon at Shark Park.
Canberra Raiders 16 - Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 24
Venue: GIO Stadium Canberra
Halftime Score: Canberra Raiders 16 Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 8
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Andrew Fifita
2 points - Ata Hingano
1 points - Valentine Holmes
CANBERRA RAIDERS (16)
Tries: Nick Cotric, Blake Austin
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Jarrod Croker (2/2)
CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS (24)
Tries: Valentine Holmes (2), Jack Williams, Sosaia Feki
Conversions: Chad Townsend (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Chad Townsend (1/1)