The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have been wonderfully led by Todd Carney to a 38-10 victory over the Penrith Panthers today at Remondis Stadium in front of over 14,000 fans.
What started a relatively even contest soon blew out in Cronulla's favour, with a poorly disciplined first half from Penrith handing the Sharks possession in prime field position. Carney subsequently made them pay, having a hand in plenty of scoring plays including a wonderful individual effort. Sosaia Feki nabbed a try on the stroke of halftime, putting the Sharks up 20-0. The Panthers main chance of the half had come after 24 minutes, when James Segeyaro burrowed over - but was denied because he used the man playing the ball as an obstruction.
Cronulla continued to make a strong statement early in the second half, the opening tackle of the half seeing Sam Tagataese hitting Sam Anderson solidly. The Sharks took six minutes to extend their lead, Michael Gordon scoring his second try.
From there the momentum turned for a while, the Panthers getting themselves on the board through some clever kicking. James Roberts scored both the mountain-men's tries, the second from sheer determination near the line to ground the ball.
Ben Pomeroy and Sosaia Feki closed out the game for the Sharks, Pomeroy scoring in the final ten minutes before Feki got the ball down just inside the dead ball line right on fulltime to record an important boost to the Sharks' for and against.
Penrith's task gets no easier when they head home to host the Roosters on Friday night, while the Sharks head across the Tasman to face the rejuvenated Warriors in the first Saturday afternoon match of the season.