Sharks end drought with win over Eels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks end drought with win over Eels

By Ian McCullough 30/05/2009 10:25:27 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla have ended a run of nine successive NRL defeats as the Sharks sealed a 13-10 victory over Parramatta in a dour NRL encounter at a rainswept Parramatta Stadium on Saturday.

A late field goal from Trent Barrett and a last-minute penalty goal from Luke Covell handed Ricky Stuart's side their first victory since the opening round in front of a crowd of 7,014.

Tries from Luke Burt and Joel Reddy had given the Eels a 10-6 lead at halftime with Covell going over for the Sharks, but when Mitch Brown crossed in the 69th-minute, the visitors took control of the final stages as Parramatta were made to pay for failing to score in the second half.

Both sides named rookie halves with Eels coach Daniel Anderson handing a debut to highly-rated young five-eighth Daniel Mortimer and Ricky Stuart giving Scott Porter a taste of first-grade football for the first time at halfback for the Sharks.

It was Parramatta who took the lead after 17 minutes when Joel Reddy rumbled over after latching onto Todd Lowrie's pass.

The Sharks hit back through Covell nine minutes later when the winger leapt above a sea of Eels shirts to pluck Porter's spiralling kick from out of the air.

Covell's conversion put the visitors in front 6-4, but it was the home side who went in at the interval ahead when Burt reacted quickest to Jeff Robson's grubber-kick to score just under the posts.

In a game low on quality but high in handling errors both sides demonstrated why they are the lowest tryscorers in the competition with the wet conditions making it difficult to finish off good scoring opportunities.

The diminutive Mortimer had the crowd on their feet with a darting run that bisected the Sharks' defence early in the second half but it was the only highlight of a dreadful second stanza, as they coughed up possession on numerous occasions to let the Sharks back into the game.

Brown was the beneficiary of some sterling work from Anthony Tupou when he went over the right hand corner after 69 minutes before Barrett and Covell's kick brought some much-needed relief for under pressure Stuart.

To compound the Eels' misery further, Nathan Hindmarsh was forced out the action early in the second half with a shoulder injury.

Stuart was full of praise for his players after they ended their woeful run of results and said he was delighted with the performance of Porter and the determination shown by an inexperienced side.

"It's a great relief for myself, the players and the club and it puts you in a bit of a brighter frame (of mind) they have worked hard this season and have just not been getting the results," Stuart said.

"That win typified about what I have been saying over the last three months .. out there I think there was 18 games of first grade between seven players .. you don't have that in any other football club in the competition.

"I was really pleased for Scotty, I thought he played an outstanding game .. I said to Ports in our last session yesterday that I have never seen a more comfortable debutant at training.

"I am criticised for being a little bit critical on my halfbacks .. but I was really impressed with his first game at first grade."

Anderson accused his players of 'lacking football intelligence' after a series of handling and kicking errors saw them squander possession on numerous occasions in the second half.

"We should have never got in that position to lose," Anderson said.

"We were in as comfortable a position as we have been this year, our yardage kicking was poor, it was very disappointing.

"We should have won tonight and I am very upset that we didn't win, we didn't show footy intelligence in the second half."

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