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Sims lucky not to be sent off for high shot as Trindall maintains Sharks form

Brayden Trindall was the star and Tariq Sims was lucky to stay on the pitch as the Dragons lost 24-18 to Cronulla at a sold-out Shark Park.

Trindall was a late inclusion after regular five-eighth Matt Moylan was injured in the captain’s run, joining debutant Kade Dykes at fullback and second player Lachie Miller at an inexperienced backline, but impressed by creating one and scoring another for the Sharks.

The Melbourne-bound Sims may not play for the Dragons again after a high shoulder ended Connor Tracey’s night early.

It was a clear and powerful blow to the head that was only punished with a sin bin at the time, but will surely be seen more harshly by justice.

It took a long time for Tracey to be stretched out as maximum precautions were taken, but luckily he was later seen in the grandstand.

The Sharks were far from their best, but capitalized on an inspired first-half spell from substitute halfback Trindall to take a lead they would never relinquish.

Their defense managed to hold off St George Illawarra despite a 62/38 possession split in the second half to deliver a seventh win in eight games. Their place in the top four seems assured.

While Cronulla’s defense was excellent, the Dragons didn’t ask their line enough questions. Although they scored two good second-half tries, they were – not for the first time in 2022 – too conservative in attack and too dependent on Ben Hunt to produce moments of magic.

The Dragons’ goal-line defense has struggled lately and looked grimly bad early on when Nicho Hynes barely crossed the tackle to score.

St George Illawarra hit back through Jack de Belin, who cleaned up after Ronaldo Mulitalo reversed a spot kick, but was caught out by the Sims sin bin incident.

Although the Dragons made it through the ten minutes unscathed, they didn’t last long thereafter.

Trindall might have created a try before when he put Wade Graham in a hole with the softer hands, only to have the final pass to Mulitalo called forward. Next time, he eliminated the uncertainty by faking it and bringing it to the line himself.

He then put Wilton through a holeshot to send the lead further. It was a spectacular intervention from the back half.

Blayke Brailey was then scrapped for professional misconduct, opening the door for the Dragons, and after the break they stormed through it.

Junior Amone produced an excellent looping pass to the chest of Tautau Moga to recover one, and on the other wing Hunt threw the long ball to put Mat Feagai outside Lachie Miller and into the corner.

Just when things seemed to be getting tighter, St George Illawarra shot himself in the foot. Tyrell Sloan made a meal of a high kick, leaving Briton Nikora to pick up, stretch to Brayley and eventually Wade Graham for his first try since 2020.

The way the Dragons, desperate for a try, ended their set with Francis Molo taking a hit told its own story. They ended up taking a penalty goal to move the deficit inside a converted try,

Then, with a set down the Sharks line to send it to the golden point, Moses Mbye dropped the ball with his own hands through Sloan’s back. If they needed a sign that their year was over, this might just be it.

Sports Grp2

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