Sharks extend streak with Knights drubbing
The NRL Telstra Premiership competition leaders Cronulla have made it 15-straight wins by pummelling the injury-ravaged Knights 36-4 on Sunday afternoon.
Only the Sharks' poor goal kicking saved the Knights a bit of face, with James Maloney's absence with a groin injury only felt when it came to converting the Sharks' eight tries.
Already missing a host of players, Jarrod Mullen's reoccurrence of an early-season hamstring injury furthered Newcastle's woes.
Including their 62-0 win back in Round 10, the Sharks scored a combined 98 points on the Knights in 2016.
While it was pulled back for a double movement, Valentine Holmes's 80-metre runaway would-be try within the first two minutes set the tone early for the Sharks.
It didn't take them long to make amends however, when Jack Bird crossed past horrible Newcastle left-edge defence in the sixth minute.
The Knights had plenty of opportunities to score midway through the first half but Sharks flyer Sosaia Feki put an end to that in the 26th minute when he scored his 13th try of the season.
Fullback Ben Barba looked to have extended the Sharks' eventual 10-0 half-time lead when he found a gaping hole in the Knights defence. However it was pulled back when the bunker ruled Michael Ennis had impeded Chris Adams in the lead-up.
Barba wouldn't be denied again in the 43rd minute when he found space down the sideline before leaving Knights fullback Dane Gagai in his wake to score.
Gerard Beale was the next Shark to cross in the 50th minute when he beat three would-be Knights defenders to help his side to a 20-0 advantage.
Bird secured his double three minutes later while Holmes managed his first in the 58th minute when the Sharks won a scrum against the feed.
Three minutes later, Holmes crossed for his second try to ensure he'd celebrate his 21st birthday accordingly.
Newcastle pegged one back in the 65th minute when Nathan Ross was able to get a handle on a deflected Mitchell Barnett kick.
The Sharks had the last laugh though when hot potato football saw Barba cross for his double to help seal his side's 32-point win.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 36 (Jack Bird 2, Valentine Holmes 2, Ben Barba 2, Sosaia Feki, Gerard Beale, tries; Chad Townsend 2 goals) defeated Newcastle Knights 4 (Nathan Ross try) at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Crowd: 16,882. Half-time: Sharks 10-0.