NSW skipper Paul Gallen looks set for a return to State of Origin after coming through unscathed in Cronulla’s 10-4 upset win over a wasteful Sydney Roosters side at Remondis Stadium.
In front of a healthy crowd of 14,235, Gallen played all but four minutes in a typically robust performance that will warm the heart of Blues coach Laurie Daley and see him rushed back into the team when it gets named on Tuesday.
But while NSW will welcome the return of their skipper, Sharks fans will celebrate their second win over the competition heavyweights this year.
An ill-disciplined Roosters outfit were made to pay for completing just 59 per cent of their sets, continually handing possession over to their opposition and struggling to get out of their end of the field.
Cronulla were down 4-0 when Jeff Robson offloaded to Luke Lewis to nab the go-ahead try in the 46th minute.
More Roosters errors allowed the Sharks to camp themselves in the opposition red zone, and they managed to pot penalty goals in the 64th and 77th minutes to seal their second win in three games.
The hosts started brightly enough but the Roosters scored first points when Jack Bird’s 16th minute grubber cannoned into James Maloney, who then raced 90 metres to score.
But the Roosters’ poor handling gifted Cronulla plenty of opportunities to get on the scoreboard.
However just once did the home side come close to crossing the stripe, only for Valentine Holmes to be adjudged to have taken advantage of an illegal decoy, leaving them to face a 4-0 deficit at halftime.