Cronulla roared home in the second half to record a dominant 30-6 win over the Tigers at Allianz Stadium in Round 9.
It was a happy homecoming for the five former Tigers in the Cronulla outfit although it didn’t start that way for winger Beau Ryan who was dazed when he ran into the shoulder of Saoaso Sue in the opening minutes. The Sharks’ night looked on even shakier ground when Matt Utai opened the scoring for Wests Tigers following quick hands from his inside men in the 10th minute.
But after Andrew Fifita celebrated a try against his former club from a Todd Carney cross-field kick to make it 6-all at the break, it was all Cronulla in the second half.
Ironically, it was Ryan who pulled off a match-changing play when he leaped high to prevent Benji Marshall finding touch from a penalty. Moments later the Sharks put it through the hands and Jeff Robson turned up on the inside to finish off a stunning team try.
Two minutes later Cronulla was in again as James Tedesco spilled a towering bomb and Jason Bukuya raced through to take advantage. By the 49th minute the Sharks were in for their third try of the half as Sosai Feki leaped highest to collect a Carney bomb and although the scoring slowed from there, Feki grabbed his second near full-time to complete the rout.
There was little between the sides when it came to possession but Cronulla’s big men got the job done, with the Sharks making 1426 metres to the Tigers’ 1254. Fifita’s 189 metres was telling while fullback Michael Gordon was superb with 211 metres for his new club.
Aaron Woods was brilliant for the home side with 162 metres and 49 tackles.