Sharks beat fancied Dragons 16-10 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks beat fancied Dragons 16-10

By Steve Jancetic 21/03/2011 11:09:14 PM Comments (0)

A week after their captain deemed them not up to NSW Cup standard, Cronulla stunned NRL premiership favourites St George Illawarra 16-10 in Monday night's local derby at a rain-soaked Toyota Stadium.

Showing the sort of tenacity and cohesion desperately lacking in their first-up thumping at the hands of Canberra, the Sharks kick-started their 2011 campaign by bullying the Dragons into one of their worst efforts in recent seasons.

It continued a weekend of stunning form reversals, with the Sharks joining Manly, Penrith and Brisbane in hitting back from poor round one defeats.

But no recovery was as dramatic as this one, with centre Ben Pomeroy - a late inclusion at the expense of Dean Collis - scoring a memorable double to give the 12,183 fans who braved the ordinary conditions plenty to celebrate - and plenty of reason for optimism.

Backrower Jeremy Smith was brilliant as he terrorised his former teammates, while skipper Paul Gallen ran for an amazing 218 metres on 20 hit-ups.

Deplorable against the Raiders, it was obvious early that this was a different Sharks outfit with their commitment in defence rattling the visitors, who coughed up the ball on numerous occasions.

Their sloppiness was compounded when Pomeroy scored his first on 14 minutes, with a John Morris bomb tapped back by John Williams - Pomeroy touching down after a couple of grabs at the ball.

Already going backwards in the middle, the Dragons then lost prop Michael Weyman to a groin strain, before earning three straight sets at the Cronulla line which again went unrewarded.

A Jamie Soward 40-20 gave them another crack which Brett Morris in turn spurned when he stepped on the sideline as he dived for the corner.

Seemingly content to go to the sheds up by four points, Nathan Gardner gambled on a quick tap from a penalty ten seconds from the break, which looked like it had backfired when he was caught ten metres out.

But a quick play the ball saw Albert Kelly send Anthony Tupou over as the siren sounded, the break doing little to stem the tide with Pomeroy given the benefit of the doubt on a dubious try after Brett Morris had spilled an unmarked bomb.

St George Illawarra threatened a comeback when Jason Nightingale scored with 13 minutes remaining, but Kyle Stanley's neat chip and chase try two minutes from time couldn't prevent the Sharks' first win over the Dragons since 2008.

Gallen admitted the Sharks had planned to go through the Dragons with their big forward pack, but said talk of a revival was still premature.

"We spoke about (bashing them) during the week, that's what we had to do, but in saying that, it's not hard to get up for St George - they're the premiers, everyone lifts for them," Gallen said.

"The big thing for us is playing next week, that's what we have to do.

"We've set a benchmark for ourselves today and there's no reason we shouldn't be able to play like that most weeks if not every week."

Dragons coach Wayne Bennett said Weyman would go for scans on his injured groin on Tuesday, but conceded his side was already up against it before his departure.

"I thought we were out-enthused and out-played," Bennett said.

"We knew what we were in for and didn't have the intensity we need to play at this level.

"I don't think anybody thought it was just a matter of turning up, but in the end that's what it looked like.

"We didn't turn up tonight and that's something we've been really good at."

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