Gardner makes the most of blunder - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gardner makes the most of blunder

Steve Jancetic 21/03/2011 11:16:42 PM Comments (0)

The fine line between genius and stupidity can at times be a little blurry, and never was that more the case than at Toyota Park on Monday night.

With Cronulla - written off as no-hopers after a first round shellacking by Canberra - clinging to a 4-0 lead over premiers St George Illawarra approaching halftime - Sharks fullback Nathan Gardner danced on that tightrope.

Handed a penalty 30 metres out with just 15 seconds left before the break, Gardner stunned teammates and the crowd by moving in to take a quick tap.

It was a gift two points, made even easier when the Dragons were marched ten metres for dissent.

Given a second chance to choose the more cautious route, Gardner this time went through with the tap, and was tackled ten metres out from the Dragons line - much to the dismay of skipper Paul Gallen who let him know exactly how he felt.

With seven seconds remaining, Gardner played the ball which eventually found a steamrolling Anthony Tupou, who barrelled over for a vital 10-0 lead as the siren sounded.

It was a crucial play in a tight game, the Sharks eventually prevailing 16-10.

"I gave him a fair spray but I felt like a bit of a goose when Toops scored," Gallen said.

"He got lucky and at the end of the day it probably won us the game.

"It wouldn't have even been a 50-50 call - nine times out of ten we should have taken the two but he got away with it."

Gardner admitted the clock wasn't in his thinking as he probed the retreating Dragons defensive line.

"I didn't know how many opportunities we were going to get against the Dragons, I just wanted to make the most of the opportunity," Gardner said.

"I didn't realise there was ten seconds to go - I realised I made a mistake after it but lucky Toops scored."

Lucky indeed, because Gardner wouldn't have been a popular figure in the dressing room at halftime had it amounted to nothing.

"That's youth and enthusiasm," coach Shane Flanagan said.

"I'm glad they scored, put it that way."

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