The Sharks have extended Wests Tigers' winless start to the year to five games, comfortably easing to a 30-4 win at PointsBet Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers withstood an early examination at their line but a dropped bomb from stand-in fullback Starford To'a handed Briton Nikora an easy four-pointer to get the scoring underway 10 minutes in.
Sione Katoa crossed for a first-half double, with a pair of well-worked right side shifts from the Sharks easily stripping the Tigers' left side for numbers.
Hynes with a superb pass
Mulitalo joined the party early in the second half and Jesse Ramien crashed over the top of some backpedalling defence to make it 24-0 with 13 minutes to play. Cam McInnes strolled through some nonexistent defence to set up Will Kennedy for a 30-0 lead.
A Ken Maumalo intercept in the final minute avoided the ignominy of a loss to nil with a consolation try.
Match: Sharks v Wests Tigers
Round 5 -
Venue: PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
- Wests Tigers fullback Daine Laurie was ruled out at the ground pre-game by a positive COVID test, forcing Star To'a to fullback in his club debut. The former Knight had a mixed afternoon, dropping a bomb that led to Cronulla's first try but saving one on Ronaldo Mulitalo soon after.
- The general lack of urgency on multiple plays should be a concern for Tigers coach Michael Maguire. The Tigers once conceded possession by not getting to dummy half, Ronaldo Mulitao was allowed to run a sideline try all the way around under the posts while occasional good kicks were brought undone by poor chases.
Nikora cleans up the scraps
- Braden Hamlin-Uele was placed on report for high contact on Kelma Tuilagi, with the latter requiring an HIA which he subsequently passed.
- Tuilagi was arguably his side's best and continues to mark himself as a star of the future, getting busy on both sides of the ball and forcing a turnover with a huge shot on Will Kennedy among a few big defensive plays.
- The Sharks themselves had an off day in attack, failing to capitalise on a number of opportunities and making 12 errors; in-form halfback Nicho Hynes came up with an uncharacteristic three errors and three missed conversions in what could have been a bigger scoreline.
Play of the game
Destructive Sharks centre Jesse Ramien was the most dangerous player on the field and finally nabbed a well-earned try late in the match when he took on the Tigers' left-edge goal line defence and steamrolled three players to score.
Ramien makes it look easy
What they said
"We didn't get the rewards early and we lost our way a little bit. They were able to play a pretty strategic game, Cronulla, where they've been doing that for a number of weeks and getting fair results... we didn't adjust at times to get things right and it hurt us." - Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire.
"Our attitude was spot on but exection's been a bit of an issue for us over a number of weeks. There's a balance between playing the style of footy we want to play and expressing ourselves with the ball and knowing how to rein it in and get to the end of our sets and we're blurring the line a little bit." - Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon.
An top-of-the-table blockbuster awaits the Sharks next Saturday night against the second-placed Storm in Melbourne.
The Wests Tigers continue their hunt for their first win of the year in the annual Easter Monday clash against the Eels.