Sharks beat Dragons at the death

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    Prop Andrew Fifita completed a Cronulla miracle with a last-minute try delivering the Sharks their first win in Wollongong since 1989 with a 22-18 defeat of St George Illawarra on Saturday night.

    Seemingly down and out after Todd Carney had missed a sideline conversion with six minutes remaining that would have locked it up at 18-all, Fifita produced a Houdini act with a brilliant display of pace to spark delirious celebrations.

    A last-ditch Carney kick was fumbled by the Dragons, Fifita toeing ahead the dregs and then out-sprinting Jason Nightingale – just – to score with 54 seconds left on the clock.

    The Sharks were trailing 18-6 with just over half an hour remaining when Isaac De Gois darted over to spark the revival.

    The stunning come-from-behind win keeps Cronulla out of the dog fight for positions in the lower end of the top eight and maintains their slim top-four hopes.

    They will need to play much better though to be a factor in the finals, having come up with 17 errors in a largely poor performance in which they completed at just over 50 per cent.

    But they don’t give out points for statistics, and the Sharks came out on top where it mattered most having been given a scare by a big brother missing its two best players with NSW Origin reps Trent Merrin and Josh Dugan both sitting on the sidelines.

    The Dragons ambushed the visitors with two tries in the opening seven minutes, Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale taking turns at setting the other up for four pointers.

    Cronulla hit back via Ben Pomeroy, the Dragons lucky to extend their lead when a Adam Quinlan pass was touched by Ryan into the head of Charly Runciman – Morris picking up the lose ball to dive over for his second just inside the corner post.

    The Dragons were lucky not to have someone binned as they held out the Sharks just before the break, but they couldn’t stop the late avalanche – with Ryan scoring six minutes from fulltime to set up a thrilling finish.

    Carney’s missed conversion – just his third miss from 39 attempts in 2013 – looked like costing his side before Fifita’s late heroics.

    “I just kicked it and hoped for the best,” Fifita said of his late try.

    “I saw Nightingale, I thought I was going to get burned, but I never gave up and got there in the end.”

    For coach Shane Flanagan, the win was retribution, but didn’t mask his side’s deficiencies.

    “Probably after last week (against Newcastle) losing in the last minute and then tonight winning – if there’s a football god out there it all evened up,” Flanagan said.

    “I don’t know if I’m happy or a little numb.

    “We were awful with the ball. We gifted the Dragons field position, gifted them points.”

    For Dragons coach Steve Price it was a tough defeat to swallow.

    “The footy gods weren’t on our side tonight,” he said.

    “We were clearly the better team for the game I thought, that lucky try right at the death, it’s tough to take.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • August 18th 2013 @ 7:50am
      oikee said | August 18th 2013 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      What a joy it was to watch this game. The game of the round by a long long margin so far.
      Hardly a penalty to be heard, a second half that flowed and had no rubbish in the rucks.
      You compare this class of game to the one we witnessed on Friday night, with players being turtled and Gyro-Coptered by 3 players every tackle. (when are the refs gouing to crack-down on turning players around completely in the tackle, ? or are we going to have every team doing this before something is done), no wonder the game is backward slow and cant grow.
      When is the game going to fine the waterboy coach who seems to be able to dump on the refs at will.
      Has this code got any nads, or are they playing lipservice to waterboys now.

      Back to the Sharkies, i loved the way they never said die in this game, you always felt they needed to win, you always felt they were a few minutes away from winning, and the last try proved that, good win and the Dragons were brilliant as well.

    • August 18th 2013 @ 8:12am
      The eye said | August 18th 2013 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      I’ve never seen a team play that bad and still win…and how many times did a front rower have to kick on the last for the Dragons,wow.As much as I love the Sharks looks like first out again this year come the semis…

      • August 18th 2013 @ 9:39am
        Marldon said | August 18th 2013 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        +1

        The Dragons should have won this game by a mile, they were superb and why are they calling it a miracle “try” ? It was just another piece of crappy luck same as they have pulled off all season. Sharks might make the finals but an early exit on this showing.

        • August 18th 2013 @ 9:47am
          Renegade said | August 18th 2013 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          “same as they have pulled all season”

          Like last week….

          usual rubbish from Marldon here.

    • August 18th 2013 @ 9:21am
      Short Hand said | August 18th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      The losing coach still continues to say his was the better team and he is proud of his players.. BORING…winning and losing is a culture that gets instilled from the coaching staff through the captain and eats at the team. Same points as the Tigers and in his 2nd year of tenure and they want to punt Potter?..work that out.

      • August 18th 2013 @ 9:42am
        Marldon said | August 18th 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        …… but for once the coach was right, The better team did lose and they were robbed. He has every right to complain after that appauling result.

        • August 18th 2013 @ 9:48am
          Luke said | August 18th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          If they were the better team they would have won.

          • August 18th 2013 @ 11:40am
            Clevo said | August 18th 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report

            Sharkies are the team of destiny this year!!

    • August 18th 2013 @ 9:57am
      Renegade said | August 18th 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      That’s the worst performance I’ve seen from an NRL side this year…. the Sharks did not turn up to play. Which is a real shame because its a local derby and the dragons did show up.

      Completion rate under 50% and an unbelievable amount of unforced errors.

      The incredible thing is that they still won while playing an 80 mins that was worse than the tigers or eels have produced all season.
      Good teams still manage to win when playing bad but surely they can’t play that bad again!
      Feel sorry for the dragons because they were the better side ….the ref really let the match flow and had the Sharks not been complacent and turned up, I think they would’ve put 50 on the board which would have been vital for their for and against. They got over the try line 8 times and were denied 4 of those.

      In summary, if they put in another performance like that next week… they will lose by 50. Surely they can’t play that bad ever again…

    • August 18th 2013 @ 10:25am
      The eye said | August 18th 2013 @ 10:25am | ! Report

      Luke Lewis’ double movement summed up their night,it was comical..hope Ricky Leutell can make it back for the semis,Feki is a real worry.

    • August 18th 2013 @ 11:53am
      Crosscoder said | August 18th 2013 @ 11:53am | ! Report

      Shark’s completion rate horrendous,they were lucky to win this one.Then again they were unlucky to lose last week in the dying minutes.Perhaps karma played its part..
      Anycase I will take the 2 points,now giving them 28,and next week they play the Roosters gulp…………
      if they make the semis and play like that,they will be knocked out first semi.

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