A late try to Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis has sealed a 35-28 victory over Parramatta, moving the Sharks into the NRL top four for the first time this season.
The victory on Saturday moved the Sharks into fourth spot on 32 points, one win clear of South Sydney going into next week’s final round of the regular season.
Ennis crashed over from close range with a minute remaining shortly after Cronulla took a one-point lead through a Valentine Holmes field goal.
Parramatta clawed their way back into the game after trailing 20-10 at halftime and opened the scoring in the second half when bench forward Daniel Alvaro beat several defenders to score a terrific try.
The Eels scored again via Reece Robinson on 62 minutes before hooker Isaac De Gois scored a converted try five minutes later to put Parramatta up 28-22.
Cronulla lifted in the final 10 minutes with winger Sosai Feki scoring his second try of the afternoon before Ennis iced the game for the Sharks.
Should Souths beat the Sydney Roosters on Friday, it would put the Sharks in a must-win situation for their clash with Manly two days later with the Rabbitohs boasting a superior points differential.
One bright note for the Eels was the NRL’s leading tryscorer Semi Radradra crossing for his 22nd try of the season to move within Steve Ella’s club record of 23 set in 1982.
Cronulla’s win comes after a tumultuous couple of days for the club over an alleged incident involving skipper Paul Gallen.
The lock fronted media on Friday, denying a News Corp Australia report which alleged he swore at a young boy who wanted his autograph.
The Sharks released a statement before Gallen’s media appearance, saying the club would investigate the incident.
The family at the centre of the controversy have stood by their claims that Gallen swore at the boy.