NRL Round 10 – Match 7 Results: Cronulla Sharks 14 v 34 Penrith Panthers

In another disappointing effort from the woeful Sharks, Cronulla lost their seventh game of the season on Sunday afternoon when they were crushed 34 – 14 by the Panthers.

Neither team was particularly impressive in the Toyota Stadium clash, but by a stroke of luck Penrith have managed to work their way up to number two on the NRL ladder. It is an exciting result for Penrith fans, who haven’t seen their team in the finals since 2004.

Penrith lost to the Titans 38 – 24 in their round eight clash before last week’s bye, but a loss for the Gold Coast this round saw them drop to number three and the Panthers move up two spots from number four.

With only two wins this season, the Sharks are the worst performers of the year and are the lowest team still in contention for the premiership.

Again it was the poor completion rate that was the death of Cronulla, unable to hang onto the ball and complete a set of six they gave themselves little opportunity to score. And when they did face a fighting chance, they made a mess of it and threw away chances left, right and centre.

Penrith’s six tries to two win was highlighted by a hat-trick by young centre Michael Jennings and Shane Elford’s double.

The point-scoring began three minutes in when Cronulla’s Tim Smith kicked a penalty, and the home side had the early advantage.

Five minutes later Penrith’s Shane Elford scored his first try after a thrilling 75 metre run, and the kick in front of the posts from Michael Gordon, who booted five from six in the match, gave the visitors the lead.

Nathan Gardner took Cronulla in front again four minutes later, scoring for the Sharks after some fancy footwork in the 11th minute with a four-pointer converted by Smith.

But the home side didn’t enjoy the lead for long as after the first quarter Cronulla lost any control they had over the match, failing to score again while Penrith ran away with another three first half tries, all within eight minutes.

Michael Jennings scored in the 21st and 34th minutes, with Shane Elford completing his double in the middle getting over in the 29th minute. Gordon kicked two from three and the Panthers went to the break leading 22 – 8.

Just four minutes into the second half Jennings found the line for the third time, scoring another converted try in the 44th minute to extend Penrith’s lead to 20 points.

Dean Collis managed to soften the blow slightly by scoring for the Sharks in the 48th minute, Smith’s conversion giving them 14 points in total.

Only one more try was scored in the last half hour, and it was by the Panthers who put the final icing on their win with a minute left to play when Masada Iosefa scored a final converted try so the visitors won 34 – 14.

The Panthers are yet to face the team one above them on the ladder, the Dragons, and have managed to avoid that dreaded clash again this round instead facing off against the Canterbury Bulldogs. To see the odds on this match and get behind your favourites visit Ladbrokes.com.au.