Sharks slay Dragons in eventful derby - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks slay Dragons in eventful derby

By Steve Jancetic 11/06/2007 10:29:52 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla withstood a gallant 12-man St George Illawarra to win 20-16 at OKI Jubilee Stadium in an NRL local derby marred by accusations from both sides of players faking injury in a bid to win penalties.

Dragons prop Adam Peek was sent off in the 48th minute following a late high shot on longtime friend Adam Dykes, the incident sparking a late revival from the home side which fell just short.

Both sides scored three tries with the boot of Luke Covell propelling the Sharks into fifth spot on the NRL ladder.

But the main talking point after the game was the sending off and two controversial second half penalties.

Peek was marched on the advice of video referee Steve Nash after collecting Dykes with his elbow in an incident which initially looked innocuous.

Dragon Ben Creagh and Shark Paul Gallen then earned their sides penalties when Nash again intervened after both players had stayed down following high shots.

"It is creeping into our game - I make no bones about that," Sharks coach Ricky Stuart said.

"It shouldn't be the players that have to cop the criticism for it - the officials have got to look at a way of taking that pressure off the players.

"If the referee and the two touch judges miss it, it can't be that bad. And if they do miss something that's quite blatant or was a cheap shot, leave it to the judiciary.

"If they do this miss the odd one it's going to be better than someone getting a clip on the chin in front of their posts with 30 seconds go and they're a point down in the grand final."

Dragons coach Nathan Brown said he couldn't defend Peek over his hit on Dykes but was critical of the manner in which the Sharks playmaker - who wore a nasty bruise and cut after the game - went down.

"Dykes will get an Oscar for going down like he did but I can't condone what Peeky did," Brown said.

"If he had of got Dykes properly he could have broken his jaw - it's not good.

"On the other hand I think the game's getting sad when blokes are continually lying down ... it's supposed to be the toughest game in the world."

Dykes said he didn't believe Peek deserved to be suspended for the hit.

The drama took the gloss of what was an entertaining game with the Dragons jumping out of the gates early before the Sharks built what was ultimately a match winning lead.

Two Jamie Soward grubbers led to tries for Richie Williams and Ben Creagh as the home side led 10-0 after just 12 minutes.

But the Sharks fought back with Gallen sending Mitch Brown over before Reece Williams produced the first of two magic offloads to set up fullback David Simmons for a 12-10 halftime lead.

Williams was again the provider just after the break when he passed for Covell to score, the vocal 12,455-strong home left irate with replays indicating the pass may have been forward.

After Peek's dismissal the Dragons hit back with Ben Ellis darting over from dummy half to leave the home side trailing 20-16 after 52 minutes.

Despite being a man down it was the Dragons who piled on the pressure but they were unable to land the killer blow, winger Chase Stanley denied eight minutes from time when he failed to ground the ball as Misi Taulapapa unknowingly knocked the ball out with his shoulder.

Stuart said the fulltime siren couldn't come soon enough for his under-fire troops.

"We've lost four games like that this year and we got away with that one," Stuart said.

"I still think we should be better at the back end of the game when we've got a lead.

"We've dropped four leads this season and let teams come home over the top of us."

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