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Sharks put bite on Dogs with second-half surge

The Cronulla Sharks have produced a slashing second half to down a gutsy Bulldogs outfit 25-6 at PointsBet Stadium on Friday night.

The Sharks have now won 12 of their past 14 games against the Bulldogs and take bragging rights in the 100th clash between the two clubs.

A tough start for the Bulldogs with Poasa Faamausili out of the game after clashing heads with Cameron McInnes in the opening hit-up of the game.

The Sharks then lost Briton Nikora to the sin for a shoulder charge and the Bulldogs looked to have capitalised on the one-man advantage when Viliame Kikau crashed over but the try was ruled out due to referee getting caught in the defensive line and impeding Cronulla defenders.

Come the 13th miinute and the Bulldogs had their reward when Drew Hutchison went right and found Blake Taaffe who sent Blake Wilson over in the corner. Matt Burton's conversion made it 6-0.

On the back of two straight penalties the Sharks had a golden chance to hit back but the Bulldogs held firm in defence and forced an error from Siosifa Talakai.

Blake Wilson Try

With 16 minutes to play in the half the home side got on board through Braydon Trindall after superb lead-up work by Nicho Hynes and Teig Wilton. 

A sweeping move to the right side looked to have delivered Wilson a second of the night in the 33rd minute but replays showed the young Bulldog had put his boot on the sideline before launching himself at the line.

The Sharks had all the running late in the half as they went close through Jack Williams and Sione Katoa but the Bulldogs showed plenty of resolve to go to the break level at 6-6.

Braydon Trindall Try

The Bulldogs opened the second term with all the ball and Kikau was denied by a trysaver from Hynes before a dropped ball by Burton let the Sharks off the hook.

A sizzling run by Will Kennedy put the Sharks on the attack but Kurt Mann came up with a one-on-one steal to defuse the situation for the blue and whites.

When Sharks centre Jesse Ramien powered into the line in the 56th minute and got an offload out to Sione Katoa the Sharks hit the front with Hynes' sideline conversion making it 12-6.

A dropped ball by Hutchison with 15 minutes to play proved critical as the Sharks launched a raid from their own side of halfway and Ronaldo Mulitalo showed some soccer skills to finish off a great team try that featured slick hands by Hynes, a freakish flick by Wilton and a grubber by Talakai.

Teig Wilton Try

With five minutes to play the Sharks iced the win when Mulitalo delivered the final pass for Wilton to cross for his team's fourth of the night.

Hynes then knocked over a field goal in the dying seconds to make it 25-6 as the Sharks made it two straight to open the season.

Match Snapshot

  • Bulldogs prop Poasa Faamausili left the field for a HIA in the opening minute of the game. He was unable to return.
  • Sharks back-rower Briton Nikora was sent to the sin bin in the sixth minute for a shoulder charge on Viliame Kikau.
  • The Bulldogs lost their captain's challenge in the 27th minute when they unsuccessfully challenged a knock on call against Blake Taaffe.
  • Sharks co-captain Dale Finucane made his 250th NRL appearance. He was sent into the game by Craig Fitzgibbon in the 29th minute.
  • Bulldogs forward Viliame Kikau left the field for a HIA in the 39th minute. He was cleared and returned in the second term.

Nikora sent to the bin

  • Sharks fullback Will Kennedy came up with four tackle breaks to go with 171 run metres.
  • Nicho Hynes called the shots in style for the Sharks with 116 run metres, one line break, four tackle breaks and 23 tackles.
  • Bulldogs back-rower Viliame Kikau had 13 runs for 137 metres and two tackle breaks.
  • Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo has scored 28 tries in 26 games at PointsBet Stadium. He ran for 206 metres on the night and had seven tackle breaks.
  • The Bulldogs have not won at PointsBet Stadium since 2011.

Finucane celebrates his 250th

Plays of the Game 

The desperation of Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes and Bulldogs hooker Reed Mahoney summed up the struggle as both sides defended their line for long periods of time and refused to crack.

Hynes stops Kikau just in time

Mahoney saves the day

What They Said

"It took a while for us to get going and the most pleasing part is we had to earn whatever we got. It certainly wasn't handed to us. I thought we defended pretty well when we were down without Brit [Nikora]. We made one small error which cost us points but I was pleased on the balance of footy there. Went in at 6-all and walked back out and kept earning it and never lost our way. We got a good audition for being uncomfortable for long periods of time the week before [against the Warriors]" - Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon

Sharks: Round 2

"I couldn't ask for any more effort in preparation and commitment on the field. To lose Poasa on the first play of the game, I thought we did really well in the first half, I thought we defended really well, especially around the goal line. I thought Burto had one of his best games, his mindset around running the ball was really good. I thought Kikau had his best game in a Bulldogs jersey so there are some really good signs there." - Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo

Bulldogs: Round 2

What's Next

The Sharks face Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval in Round 3 while the Bulldogs welcome the Titans to Belmore Sports Ground.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.