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Cronulla scored a solid 26-12 victory at Toyota Stadium in Round 18 last season to make it four wins in a row and put a huge dent in the Raiders’ semi-final hopes.
Brimming with confidence after a rich vein of form, the Sharks started quickly and took the lead after just five minutes when a clever interchange of passes between Luke Douglas, Wade Graham and Colin Best saw Graham finish off a 50-metre movement.
Canberra hit back through Blake Ferguson against the run of play six minutes later as the former Sharks winger swooped on a dropped ball and raced away to score, but the lead didn’t last long with Best the first to a well-placed Graham grubber. Cronulla then raced to a 14-6 lead on 25 minutes when Jayson Bukuya picked up a loose ball from the Raiders to score between the posts.
A Jarrod Croker try closed the gap to two at the break but the second half was all Cronulla with Taulima Tautai storming his way over in the 59th minute and Ben Pomeroy crossing from a Chad Townsend kick.
Canberra completed just 25 of 39 sets (64 per cent) and missed 57 tackles to Cronulla’s 24.
Paul Gallen produced a typically busy performance with 185 metres from 24 runs while Shaun Fensom made 57 tackles and 118 metres for the visitors.