Cronulla score upset win over Penrith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cronulla score upset win over Penrith

By Liam Fitzgibbon 08/06/2008 05:49:09 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart has praised halfback Brett Kimmorley's leadership after the Sharks survived Penrith's late fightback to score a 24-22 upset NRL win at CUA Stadium.

Missing key duo Greg Bird and Paul Gallen to State of Origin duty, the experienced Kimmorley shouldered the added responsibility as the Sharks ran in five tries to four to move into a share of the competition lead.

Five-eighth Brett Seymour was also outstanding, setting up three and scoring another of his side's five tries, while winger Luke Covell bagged a hat trick as the Sharks looked far from a side that has struggled to score points in 2008.

Kimmorley's kick-chase game was a big factor in the win but it was the captain's calming influence as the Panthers mounted a second-half comeback that most pleased Stuart.

"Not having Paul and Greg are huge losses for our footy team, but it's probably even more of a reason to feel we can enjoy today's win," Stuart said.

"I thought Noddy's game today was very strong , especially his leadership.

"It was probably one of his better games, with regards to leadership more so than his onfield ability with the football."

Cronulla ran in four first-half tries to rack up an 18-6 halftime lead and were up by 24-10 with four minutes on the clock but two late tries to Trent Waterhouse and Shane Rodney got the Panthers within two to set up a tense finish.

Winger Luke Rooney almost gathered a Rhys Wesser crossfield kick as the siren sounded but he spilled the ball, ending any hopes of a miraculous last-second win.

Michael Jennings and Jarrod Sammut also scored for the Panthers and had one of Sammut's earlier conversions not hit the post they might have forced the game into extra time.

Penrith coach Matthew Elliott wasn't getting carried away with the comeback though, saying the better side won.

"We probably blew up to four clear try scoring opportunities in the game," Elliott said.

"But I think in the key areas of the game, they tackled harder than us and they ran harder than us, so I can't be too disappointed about the result."

Ben Pomeroy scored the Sharks' other try when he finished one of two superb team efforts in the first half, the fluid attack displayed by Cronulla pleasing Stuart.

"Full credit to the boys in the way we played, especially our first forty in getting into a position to win the match," Stuart said."

"Coming out here to play Penrith at Penrith is always a really tough job."

The Sharks move into a share of the competition lead with Melbourne, Manly and the Roosters, at least until the Storm meet Gold Coast on Monday night.

The only sour note of the loss for Cronulla came when interchange forward Kade Snowden was placed on report for a high tackle on Sammut shortly before halftime.

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