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Sharks prove too strong for Knights

Although maintaining a solid defensive effort throughout the entirety of the match, the nib Newcastle Knights were on the back foot from the get-go and went down to the Cronulla Sharks 38-12.

The Knights were on the defensive from the outset with repeat penalties in favour of the Sharks putting the visitors under the pump.

Surviving an early raid, the Knights were able to get into the arm-wrestle before a penalty in front gifted Valentine Holmes two-points.

The Knights had their chances shortly after with a dropped ball by Chad Townsend and a kick out on the full by Wade Graham gifting the Knights quality field position but they were unable to capitalise.

Josh Dugan crossed 16 minutes from the break off some desperation hands from the home side. Holmes slotted the two, and the Sharks increased the gap to eight.

Lachlan Fitzgibbon suffered a nasty head wound after colliding with teammate Josh King in the 24th minute and was assisted off the field by Knights medical staff. Chris Heighington moved off the bench to replace the injured second rower.

Strong second phase play from the Sharks saw the home team make easy metres up the field, but a piercing tackle from Sione Mata'utia forced a knock-on, and the Knights regained possession.

In the 31st minute, a Mitchell Pearce grubber through the line finds the hands of Nick Meaney, and the Knights cross the line to the right of the posts. Ken Sio slots the conversion, and the Knights reduce the gap too two before halftime.

With just 4 minutes remaining in the first half, Aidan Guerra is sent to the sin-bin for repeated infringement.

A good defensive read from Mitch Barnett saw the Knights regain possession via an intercept.

With the red and blue down to 12, the Sharks applied plenty of pressure on the Knights line, and with less than a minute remaining before halftime, the Knights cracked and an overlap on the right edge meant space for future Knight Edrick Lee to score in the corner.

One metre in from the sideline, Holmes got the two points, and the Sharks led the Knights 14-6 at halftime.

The second half started much the same as the first, with the Knights on the back foot. 

The Sharks once again find space on the edge through Feki, and the home team took the lead to 12 with a kick to come from Holmes.

The Sharks fullback missed the conversion and the gap remained.

It seemed everything was going the Sharks direction, however, the combination of space in the middle and good hands from Luke Yates and Josh King set up the big man Daniel Saifiti under the posts in the 56th minute. Sio slotted the two and the Knights reduced the gap to 6.

The Sharks were quick to retaliate, however, with Holmes bolting through the middle to score his 20th try for the season. He then converted his own try, bringing the gap to two converted tries.

Holmes once again slotted the two piggy-backed off a penalty near the Knights line, and the gap increased to 14 with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Future Knight Edrick Lee kept the ball rolling for the Sharks, gifted the perfect ball from Dugan before crossing the line with 6 minutes remaining. Holmes continued his fine kicking form, and the Sharks took the tally up to 32.

Townsend added another four after taking a picture perfect kick to score under the posts, with Edrick Lee slotting the conversion from in front. The Knights went down 38-12 at fulltime.