Sharks rout Raiders, spoil Stuart’s party

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

The loss making 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 top 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 a 40-16 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.

Barba dotted down for a Bunker-approved 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.

Maloney booted his second conversion and that was the end of the scoring in a first half that also included a disallowed Sosaia Feki try.

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 with nonchalance.

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 touchdown.

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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