Cronulla have broken a 14-year record by overcoming the loss of a sent-off Will Kennedy and sin-binned Jesse Ramien to beat the Warriors 29-10 at PointsBet Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Sharks were down to 12 men for more than an hour after Kennedy was given his marching orders for a clothesline-type tackle on Warriors fullback Reece Walsh in the 16th minute.
They were then down to 11 midway through the second half when Ramien was next to spend time on the sidelines for a high shot on Warriors back-rower Euan Aitken.
However, the home side hit the lead in the first half and never let it go to absorb pressure and come up with 17 unanswered points in the second 40 minutes to record a huge win against all odds.
Match: Sharks v Warriors
Round 9 -
Venue: PointsBet Stadium, Sydney
The win was the first by a team with less than 13 players on the field in 14 years after the Sea Eagles managed to beat the Raiders in 2008 despite former NRL player Adam Cuthbertson being sent from the field.
For the Warriors, they lost their way in the second half with a lack of direction and patience killing any chances they had of capitalising on a Sharks side who played a man short for majority of the contest.
Will Kennedy gets sent off
- Cronulla got on the board early with a flashy long range try on the right edge finished off by Nicho Hynes for a 6-0 lead.
- Momentum swung seven minutes later when Will Kennedy was sent from the field, enabling the Warriors to strike through Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
- The Warriors extended their lead through Viliami Vailea with Walsh catching the Sharks off-guard before linking with Daejarn Asi to send the centre over.
- The Sharks hit the lead before half-time when Teig Wilton crashed over the line, giving the home side an impressive lead considering the circumstances.
- Cronulla extended their advantage through Connor Tracey for a crucial six-point lead but things turned in the Warriors' favour more when Jesse Ramien was sin-binned for a high shot on Euan Aitken.
- The Sharks, down to 11, repelled the Warriors' attack with a couple of last-play options leaving a lot to be desired as the home side lifted in defence.
- Aiken failed his head injury assessment with 18th man Bayley Sironen being activated into the game due to illegal play.
- Cronulla pushed their lead to 12 with Tracey crossing for a double on the left edge.
- A field goal with six minutes remaining to Nicho Hynes sealed the result, ensuring the Sharks won their fifth-straight at PointsBet Stadium for the first time since their premiership-winning season in 2016.
Tracey extends the Sharks advantage
Play of the game
Cronulla's ability to score 17 points being without their fullback were among the highlights but it was their defensive efforts that set the tone, including this last-gasp effort from Nicho Hynes early in the second half.
Vailea can't hold on with try-line insight
What they said
"That was probably one of the best games I've been a part of at a club. We defended our arses off going down to 11 men, it's such a gutsy effort. I'm proud of this club and where we're headed, especially after a hiccup last week. Fitzy just said we need to put another 40-minute effort in and that it would've been one of the best days for the club if we got the win, and we did." - Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes.
"Our right edge had a tough day and weren't at the level we need them to be. I didn't think it would've been one-way traffic [after the send off]. I would've thought if we had a shot down there [against 11] we'd come up with points. Our attack hasn't been there this year. We're training well but not replicating it on the field. We're having trouble with possession. In the second half when they got the opportunity they maintained it. Our attack needed to be better." - Warriors coach Nathan Brown.
Tracey double stuns the Warriors
The Warriors have a six-day turnaround to prepare for a clash against the Rabbitohs in their Magic Round match at Suncorp Stadium.
Cronulla will seven days to get ready for a clash against Canberra on Sunday afternoon. All eyes will be on Will Kennedy's week while Jesse Ramien also faces a nervous wait.