Sunday’s first NRL Round 20 match is between Cronulla Sharks and Newcastle Knights. The opening bounce is set to commence at 14:05 local time with the game to be played at Shark Park. The home team Cronulla Sharks are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Cronulla Sharks and Newcastle Knights.
When: 14:05 | Sunday 24/07/2016
Where: Shark Park
Tip: Cronulla Sharks at $1.06
Value Tip: First Try Scorer: Ben Barba at $7.50
Sharks: 1. Ben Barba 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Gerard Beale 5. Valentine Holmes 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Ennis 10. Sam Tagataese 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen. Interchange: 14. Joseph Paulo 15. Chris Heighington 16. Matt Prior 17. Jayson Bukuya.
Knights: 1. Dane Gagai 2. Nathan Ross 3. Pat Mata’utia 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Brendan Elliott 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Sam Mataora 9. Danny Levi 10. Korbin Sims 11. Pauli Pauli 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Jeremy Smith. Interchange: 14. Chris Adams 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Josh King 17. Mickey Paea 20. David Bhana.
Ben Barba and Sosaia Feki have delivered Cronulla their 14th successive NRL win, a controversial 32-20 victory over Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Monday night.
Barba had a hand in three tries, while Feki scored two himself including the match-sealing four-pointer in the 79th minute to take the Sharks back to the top of the NRL ladder.
But the second-last placed Roosters made them work hard for the win.
Rookie playmaker Connor Watson was the Roosters’ best in his first run-on start, scoring a brilliant individual try in the first half and putting Dale Copley over in the second stanza.
The Roosters showed touches of the side that claimed the last three minor premierships, but made numerous simple errors the Sharks were professional enough to take advantage of.
That was illustrated best in the dying stages as the Roosters, trailling 26-20, pressed to tie up the scores, before a poor pass from Mitchell Pearce to Blake Ferguson was scooped up by Nu Brown who dished off to Feki to race 80m to secure the win.
The Tricolours were on the wrong end of a number controversial calls from the bunker, in particular a Daniel Tupou try which was turned down to an apparent lack of downward pressure.
But when it mattered most the Roosters’ lack of composure cost them. They led early through a try to Mitchell Aubusson in the third minute, before Valentine Holmes responded three minutes later.
With the Roosters left-side defence struggling, Jack Bird scored the Sharks second try in the 19th minute, the visitors exploiting a 12-man Tricolours after Blake Ferguson was sinbinned in the 14th minute due to a professional foul.
Watson stepped past Chad Townsend and sprinted away to bring the Roosters level at 10-all in the 27th minute.
But it was the Sharks who finished the first half the stronger, Luke Lewis crossing untouched from a short ball from Townsend for Cronulla to lead 16-10 at the break.
The visitors’ lead blew out to 26 points midway through the second half through Feki’s first try in the 48th minute and a Chad Townsend 54th minute four-pointer.
The Roosters fought back to 26-20 on the back of tries to Copley and Tupou with nine minutes to play. But as they have done consistently through their winning streak the Sharks held firm at the death.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change