Cronulla edged past North Queensland 26-16 at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Shaun Johnson missed a penalty goal for Cronulla in the 15th minute but they scored the game’s opening try seven minutes later thanks to Jesse Ramien. Johnson’s conversion gave his side a 6-0 lead.
The Cowboys soon tied the score as Kyle Feldt scored in the corner, with Valentine Holmes converting.
John Morris’ Sharks led at the break though as Ronaldo Mulitalo latched onto a well-placed kick from Johnson. The conversion from Johnson was good and they were 12-6 ahead at the break.
Justin O’Neill brought North Queensland back into the game shortly after the second half restart but Holmes couldn’t convert.
Mulitalo got his second in the 47th minute with a spectacular finish in the corner, with the Sharks 16-10 ahead.
Ramien bagged his second try of the game when he scored from a breakaway move, with Johnson adding the extras to put Cronulla 22-10 in front.
Paul Green’s Cowboys didn’t give up though and Feldt scored his second as he raced 60 metres down the right wing. Holmes converted and North Queensland were only 22-16 behind after 56 minutes.
Cronulla stretched their lead on the hour mark though as Briton Nikora barged over from close range. The Sharks saw the game out and finished 26-16 victors.
North Queensland: Holmes; Feldt, O’Neill, Marsters, Hampton; Drinkwater, Clifford; Molo, Granville, McLean, Dunn, Cooper, McGuire. Subs: Robson, Asiata, Gilbert, Wright.
Tries: Feldt (2), O’Neill Goals: Holmes 2/3
Cronulla: Kennedy; Katoa, Dugan, Ramien, Mulitalo; Moylan, Johnson; Rudolf, Brailey, Woods, Nikora, Graham, Williams. Subs: Tracey, Hamlin-Uele, Talakai, Sorensen.
Tries: Ramien (2), Mulitalo (2), Nikora Goals: Johnson 3/6
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