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Cronulla ends scoring drought, beats Brisbane

June 29, 2014

SYDNEY (AP) — The Cronulla Sharks ended a record scoring drought in spectacular style, coming back from 22-0 down to beat the Brisbane Broncos 24-22 in the weekend’s 16th round of Australia’s National Rugby League.

The Sharks had gone 324 minutes over five weeks and five losses without scoring a point, but that drought turned into a flood Friday when they ran 24 points past Brisbane in only 27 minutes.

Winger Jacob Gagan scored a try from a crosskick by Todd Carney, then Paul Gallen and Carney touched down as Cronulla ran in three tries in 10 minutes. Sosaia Feki added the match-winner when Dale Copley fumbled a high ball on his goal line.

The win lifted Cronulla out of last place, while Manly moved into outright first with a 24-16 win over the Roosters.

Braith Anasta kicked a 25-meter field goal for Wests’ only points of the second half as they beat Canberra 19-18, and Johnathan Thurston had a hand in three tries as North Queensland edged Souths 20-18.

Cronulla captain Gallen ran for 223 meters and made 38 tackles to individually propel his team to a win over Brisbane.

“He was enormous,” coach Paul Sharp said. “He led from the front in all areas and was magnificent.

“It’s what great players do and he did that this week. I’ve got to say the leadership shown by the captain this week was outstanding from my point of view.”

Manly established themselves as premiership favorites with their win over the Roosters in a match which was billed both as a replay of last year’s grand final and a dress rehearsal for this year’s.

Fullback Brett Stewart had a horror first half, but took control in the second scoring a try and setting up the match-winner to lead Manly to its second win over the Roosters this season.

“It was maybe the grand final revisited with a couple of forward passes for that last try (to the Roosters),” Manly coach Geoff Toovey said, adding praise for Manly’s defense.

“After halftime we made an error off the kickoff, they were camped in our end for 10 minutes and it was taxing on us to keep them at bay,” he said. “It took a very resilient effort from the forwards particularly to work really hard and keep the Roosters at bay.”

Jarrod Croker missed a 38-meter penalty with five minutes remaining that might have grabbed Canberra a late win over Wests. Croker missed a similar kick in the 2010 semifinal between the teams and Wests captain Robbie Farah reminded him of the miss as he lined up the kick.

“I was trying to get in his ear and put him off,” Farah said. “It’s a match-winning kick. I thought it was a harsh penalty.”

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