NRL wrap: Storm clinch thriller, Sharks rout Raiders



Cooper Cronk has piloted Melbourne to a controversial golden-point 19-18 win over Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

The Tigers’ Mitch Moses and Luke Brooks missed shots at field goal in extra time as did the Storm’s Cameron Smith before Cronk booted the winner in front of a disappointed crowd of 9216.

It marked the home side’s fifth straight loss.

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The Storm looked headed for victory after dubious tries to debutant Suliasi Vunivlau and Marika Koroibete before a late four-pointer to Kevin Naiqama and penalty goal to Jordan Rankin evened things up.

However Cronk, who has proved the match-winner for Queensland on many occasions, slotted the winner.

The Tigers could count themselves unlucky after Vunivlau scored a controversial four-pointer in the 53rd to reclaim the lead for the Storm.

In the lead-up Vunivalu collected Tigers fullback James Tedesco with a high shot which dislodged the ball and the Storm ran downfield to score.

When Vunivalu crossed in the right corner for his second of the day, Tedesco was still 50 metres behind the play with a head injury.

The Tigers would have been questioning why the play was allowed to go on after Vunivalu was subsequently put on report and Tedesco left the field temporarily for a concussion test.

A Marika Koroibete try five minutes later put the visitors further in front however the Ben Hampton pass in the lead up looked forward.

Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona should have been sin-binned for a second-half trip on Tedesco which will see him come under the scrutiny of the match review committee.

Sharks spoil Stuart’s party

Cronulla dished out a 40-16 thrashing to the Canberra Raiders in Ricky Stuart’s 300th game as a first-grade coach.

The loss makes it two weeks in a row that Stuart’s Raiders have been humbled by one of his former clubs.

Eight days after Parramatta fans taunted him at Pirtek Stadium, Stuart was attempting to celebrate his coaching milestone, but the Sharks weren’t in the mood to give him a party at GIO Stadium.

Sharks fullback Ben Barba was particularly prominent, posting two tries in the thrashing.

In the ninth minute, Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson chased his own kick into the Cronulla in-goal and was clearly held back by Cronulla’s Andrew Fifita.

But the match officials missed it and it was a turning point from which the Raiders failed to recover.


Ben Barba celebrates a try with team-mates. Photo: Getty

Barba dotted down for a try within a minute after he grounded a kick just short of the dead-ball line.

James Maloney converted and at 19 minutes, Cronulla centre Jack Bird pushed past Jarrod Croker to touch down off a Barba pass.

Cronulla were warned for spoiling tactics in defence but kept their full complement on the field while Canberra made a slew of errors in enemy territory.

The second half was only two minutes old when Fijian international Jayson Bukuya forced his way over from close range. The score was going up in increments of six with Maloney adding the extras.

A two-try revival for Canberra midway through the second half proved short-lived, with Sharks winger Valentine Holmes killing the comeback with his 63rd-minute try.

The Shire side scored two more tries in the run to fulltime with Matt Prior scoring in the 76th minute before Maloney got in on the act in the 79th.

The win moves the Sharks into third on the ladder, level with the Cowboys and Eels, who also have five wins apiece.

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