Raiders scrape through to quarter-finals
An 18-6 win by Canberra over the Sharks saw Cronulla knocked out by a single differential point and Canberra go through to a quarter final against tournament favourites the Warriors.
Ben Barba said it was a frustrating way to end the tournament for the Sharks, who missed out on advancing to the quarter-finals on points differential after conceding a late try.
"It was a disappointing way to go out, I thought we lost our way out there today," Barba said.
"We tried to give some young guys a run but that's a poor way to go out when we thought we had a chance of winning again."
Raiders hooker Kurt Baptiste opened the scoring from dummy-half despite a possible double movement in the grounding. A strong run from Sam Tagataese off a neat Joe Paulo offload then claimed the lead 6-4 before a one-handed offload from Jack Williams helped Zac Santo put the Raiders back in front 8-6 at the break.
There were a series of long range breaks from both sides to open the second half but it took until midway through the half for Raiders to add to the score when Jordan Rapana galloped away from inside his own half.
A Jack Williams try stretched the final margin to 12 and the 18-6 result means Cronulla find themselves in the luckless position of going through Day 1 unbeaten then getting knocked out by a single differential point.
Speaking after the match, Williams said he was unaware just how important his four-pointer was.
"I had no idea how important the try was, I was focussed on trying to score it and wasn't even thinking about the result or any calculations. The ball kind of went behind me and I just got it and then pinned the ears back," Williams told NRL.com.
"I didn't know until we were finished, but it was a pretty good feeling hearing that and now we can look forward to the quarters."
Canberra Raiders 18 (Baptiste, Santo, Rapana, J Williams tries) def. Cronulla Sharks 6 (Tagataese try).