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The Sharks got their 2015 off to a winning start with a dominant 17-4 win over the Bulldogs in the final match of the first round of the Auckland Nines.

One of the breakout stars of last year's tournament, Fa'amanu Brown, opened the scoring and made it look easy in the process when he dummied and strolled the Bulldogs' line after a steady opening to the match.

The Sharks seemed revitalised and ready to put a horror 2014 behind them, throwing the ball around everywhere and going from one side of the field to other, and it paid off when Nathan Gardner scored his side's second. It came out wide after a series of long passes when he pushed over in the corner, and he was able to convert from touch to make it 10-0.

Bulldogs rookie Levi Dodd bombed a try right before the half-time siren after a great run put him past the defence but he failed to find Moses Mbye in support as the defenders caught up with him. 

New Canterbury recruit Curtis Rona showed Dodd how it was done right after the resumption when an intercept got him into space; he then pinned the ears back and raced for the corner to get the Bulldogs on the board.

The Sharks responded well, pushing up into Bulldogs territory and forcing a line drop-out, and should have scored through Sosaia Feki but the winger couldn't hold on to Wade Graham's cross-field kick.

As the clock started to count against them the Bulldogs tried everything, including risky chip kicks, to get back into the game but the Sharks were good enough to hold them out. Cronulla hooker Pat Politoni added the exclamation point to the victory, barging over under the posts for a bonus point try to seal the 17-4 win.

Follow all the action from Day One of the Nines in's live blog


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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