Sharks silence doubters to down Penrith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks silence doubters to down Penrith

By Darren Walton 22/05/2005 06:39:34 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla - written off as a force without key playmaker Brett Kimmorley - silenced the doubters to retain a share of the premiership lead with a stirring 30-22 NRL win over Penrith.

Most pundits were predicting the desperate Panthers would expose the Sharks as title-pretenders when they travelled to Penrith Stadium without their influential skipper and NSW State of Origin halfback.

But Cronulla coach Stuart Raper arrived at the match among the believers and left feeling jubilant, claiming his team thoroughly deserved its lofty standing after 11 rounds of the 2005 competition.

"If you're going to be a good side in this competition, you can't be a one-man band. I'm sure that we're not," Raper said.

"Brett Kimmorley's been outstanding for us this year, but he knows he needs the whole side to play well for him to play well. And that was no different today - the rest of the side played well."

The Sharks' character was further tested when stand-in halfback Adam Dykes was forced out of the game after 35 minutes with a calf strain that is likely to sideline him for another two to three weeks.

But, unfazed, the Sharks extended their 16-6 lead to 16 points in Dykes' absence before resisting a second-half fightback from the Panthers to take home the points.

The victory completed an unbeaten month-long national tour of sorts for Raper's men, who have now won four straight matches in four different states.

The Sharks have been racking up competition points as quickly as frequent flyer points with wins over Melbourne in Victoria, New Zealand Warriors in Western Australia, Canberra in the national capital and now Penrith to maintain a share of the NRL lead with Brisbane.

"We might have won by 20 or 30 today with Brett in the side, but not to have Brett and then not to have Dykesy shows the confidence and belief we have in each other," Raper said.

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