The nib Newcastle Knights were defeated 26-18 by the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on Old Boys Day.
It was all the Sharks early as they put down three tries in 20 minutes, but the Knights fought back to close the gap to one converted try at the half time break.
Five minutes in, Valentine Holmes crashed through Newcastle’s goal line defence as the bunker deemed it a try. James Maloney added the extras for the visitors to take the lead, 6-0.
Sharks halfback Chad Townsend fooled the Knights with some deceptive play and sprinted to the line to cross over in the 15th minute. Cronulla led 12-0.
The Sharks recorded their third in the 20th minute, as forward Matt Prior broke free before dishing it off to Jayden Brailey who finished with the try, as the visitors stretched their lead 18-0.
The Knights' first came in the 31st minute with a one-handed try assist from Tyrone Amey on debut to Lachlan Fitzgibbon who crashed over. Trent Hodkinson booted the conversion straight out in front to trail the Sharks 18-6.
A run of penalties edged the Knights closer to the line and again Fitzgibbon with a tricky roll recorded the double minutes before the half time siren. Hodkinson added the extras to close the gap to 18-12 at the break.
In the second half, the Sharks opted for a penalty goal straight in front before a sneaky offload from Paul Gallen landed in the hands of debutant Jesse Ramien, who side-stepped his way to the line 57 minutes in. Cronulla extended their lead, 26-12.
Nathan Ross broke free to sprint half the length of the field but was chased down before finally the Knights scored via Danny Levi in the 60th minute. Hodkinson continued his precision from the tee to trail 26-18.
In the 78th minute a brilliant flick back into play by Ken Sio almost stuck with Pete Mata’utia but the bunker deemed it a no try and Cronulla went on to defeat the Knights 26-18.
Newcastle Knights 18 (T: Fitzgibbon 2, Levi, G: Hodkinson 3/3)
Cronulla Sharks 26 (T: Holmes, Townsend, Brailey, Ramien, G: Maloney 4/4, PG: Maloney 1/1)