Cronulla have withstood a late Raiders fightback to post a dominant 30 points to 20 win in front of 12,130 fans at Cronulla Stadium this afternoon.
It was a bright day, conducive to playing some attacking football and both teams were ready to give the ball some air. Johnathan Wright opening the point scoring from a inside ball from Todd Carney.
Carney who was building his argument to play origin this season, was in everything for the Sharks in this game. He started the exchange of passes that sent Ben Ross over for a rare four-pointer and a twelve point lead early.
The Raiders aren't adverse to playing from behind in a game and they struck back in the 21st minute through young half, Anthony Milford who latched onto a Shaun Fensom offload for the first of his brace.
It was through Todd Carney again that Cronulla crept ahead again, his inside ball for Pomeroy set up for Isaac De Gois to just about make it to the try-line and a 18-6 scoreline at the break.
Following the injury to Josh McCrone, Anthony Milford would spend the final forty in the halves having a hand in the Raiders second. His stabbing kick evaded everyone bar Ferguson who planted it down.
The lead would extend to fourteen when Canberra's second phase play went awry and Jason Bukuya out-paced a game Terry Campese for the score.
As the clock ticked into the final twenty minutes though, it moved into Raiders time where they start to make a comeback. First Jack Wighton showed that the Raiders backline wouldn't be out of place in a high-jump event as he went uncontested for his try.
Next it was the Raiders almost going the length of the field through their second phase play. McIllwrick finding his way towards the line, found Milford who Following the injury to Josh McCrone, Anthony Milford danced his away across for his second. Canberra had got their mojo going and were within four.
It would be unfortunate that Campese who much like Carney, was involved in everything for his side, threw the pass that led to the Raiders demise.
From his error, Andrew Fifita stormed onto a simple pass and wasn't stopping until he hit the try-line and earning Cronulla two points. Carney who took over kicking duties following Michael Gordon's knee injury finished off the try to put the final scoreline at 30 points to 20.