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Sharks put away stubborn Titans

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/04/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Cronulla have overcome yet another brave Gold Coast performance, as well as going down to 15 men for the second half, to record a gutsy 23-18 win on Sunday afternoon.

Having lost key men James Maloney and Luke Lewis to first-half concussions, the Sharks also lost their halftime advantage when Titans halfback Ashley Taylor stepped past Paul Gallen in the 46th minute.

However in front of a crowd of 11,753 at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Sunday, the home side found a way to win, breaking a 20-all deadlock when Chad Townsend potted a 69th-minute field goal.

Valentine Holmes then sealed their third straight win with a one-handed putdown in the 71st minute.

The victory lifts the Sharks to equal second on the NRL ladder alongside three other teams, while the Titans remain equal sixth but just outside the top eight.

There were a total four concussions to come out of a testy first half, where Greg Bird, who was enormous for the visitors, and Michael Ennis provided plenty of niggle in perfect conditions.

In-form Sharks fullback Ben Barba opened the scoring with a dazzling 90-metre effort.

Nathan Friend, Daniel Mortimer, Maloney and Lewis all needed attention for headknocks, with Friend the only player to re-enter the field.

Maloney was hammered in a brutal shot by Bird, who was put on report for making contact to the head.

Titans centre Nene Macdonald will be another who will be at the mercy of the match review committee, pinged for a crusher tackle on Wade Graham.

Rookie Titans playmaker Cameron Cullen made a strong impression on debut, while veteran Will Zillman also came through unscathed in his first match in almost a year.

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