With the Sharks unchanged from the side which beat the Manly Sea Eagles by 40-22 last Sunday, John Morris’s side were looking for a win which would lift them into the top half of the ladder and keep their hopes of a play-off position alive.
The Gold Coast Titans were seeking to build on their stunning 30-12 win over the Brisbane Broncos and continue their levitation from the bottom of the table as they looked to salvage something from the 2020 competition, but embattled coach Justin Holbrook was forced into four changes to his winning line-up.
The bookies fancied the Sharks for the win but the Titans upset the odds last weekend.
After the Titans had an early try ruled out for a knock on it was the Sharks who registered the first points as Braden Hamlin-Uele rolled over the line and pushed the ball to the ground off a Matt Moylan pass. Shaun Johnson added the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
The Titans equaliser on twenty-five came from a wayward Cronulla pass on the Titans ten metre line as Corey Thompson picked the loose ball and went ninety metres to grab the four pointer. Ashley Taylor added the conversion to level the scores.
Cronulla were back in the lad on thirty-two as Andrew Fifita brushed off the attempted tackles after taking a neat inside pass to go ten metres and reach for the line to score. Johnson added the goal from close to the uprights.
Three minutes later and the Titans got their second after a terrific run by Beau Fermor saw him hailed down short. A fast play the ball and fast hands saw the ball moved right and into the hands of Anthony Don who used his pace to score in the corner. Taylor couldn’t add the extras, his side going into the shed trailing by two.
It took two minutes for the Sharks to extend their lead when Briton Nikora ran the reverse angle too take a neat inside pass from Johnson and breeze through the defensive line to score by the sticks. Johnson added the extras for an eight-point lead.
Cronulla put the hammer down on fifty when Johnson stepped off both feet before finding Blayke Brailey in space to score under the uprights. Johnson added the goal and there was clear daylight between the sides.
It was all too easy on fifty-nine when Chad Townsend took the pass, threw two dummies, and weaved his way to the line for an easy four pointer. Johnson added the goal for a 30-10 lead, the game was over as a contest and the Titans looked in all sorts of trouble.
Royce Hunt scored the Sharks sixth try as he spun out of the tackle a couple of metres from the line and dropped to the ground as the one-way traffic continued. Johnson was again accurate with the boot, the Sharks 36-10 up after seventy-two minutes.
A short sprint down the left wing saw Bryson Goodwin over in the corner off a looping miss-out pass as the Sharks turned the screw. Johnson missed his first kick of the afternoon but with a thirty-point lead it mattered little.
Despite their still being everything to play for at half-time, the second half delivered utter dominance from the Cronulla Sharks as they scored twenty-eight unanswered points to record a massive 40-10 win over the Titans. The Sharks move up the ladder while the heavy loss drops the Titans down to fifteenth spot and could see them finish the round propping up the rest of the ladder.
Gold Coast Titans: Roberts, Thompson (T), Peachey, Cartwright, Don (T), Taylor (G), Fogarty, Fotuaika, Rein, Jolliffe, Hipgrave, Fermor, Arrow. Subs: Lisone, Boyd, Clark, Wallace.
Cronulla Sharks: Moylan, Katoa, Dugan, Ramien, Goodwin (T), Johnson (6G), Townsend (T), Woods, Brailey (T), Hamlin-Uele (T), Nikora (T), Graham, Williams. Subs: Fifita (T), Rudolf, Talaki, Hunt (T).
Referee: Chris Sutton.
Ground: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast.