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Vaughan stars but Sharks bt Dragons in NRL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/05/2017 Scott Bailey

Cronulla have shot into second spot on the NRL ladder with an 18-14 away win over St George Illawarra.

In a high-intensity encounter on Friday night at UOW Jubilee Oval, the Sharks came from behind in the final 10 minutes via a chaotic 72nd-minute try to Sosaia Feki.

After the ball was flung out to the left from dummy-half by halfback Chad Townsend, the Dragons fumbled it on the ground before Feki somehow scooped it up to score the match winner.

But St George Illawarra lost no admirers, sticking with the defending premiers for 80 minutes without their two best players, Josh Dugan and Gareth Widdop.

State of Origin hopeful Paul Vaughan did his NSW hopes no harm, running 191 metres and scoring St George Illawarra's opening try.

The Dragons also hung in with just 42 per cent of possession, but made only three handling errors and completed at 92 per cent in a valiant display.

They were also dealt a cruel blow when the Sharks scored from an apparent forward pass early in the second half.

After trailing 8-6 at the break, Cronulla retook the lead in the 50th minute off the back of a one-handed ball from centre Ricky Leutele to his outside man Feki.

The try was awarded, but the ball appeared to have been pushed well forward.

"It's not the NRL tonight - it's the NFL," former referees boss Bill Harrigan said in Triple M commentary after another similar pass in the next set.

But even then, Vaughan appeared to have the answer.

He produced a back-handed flick offload for Russell Packer to put the Dragons back in the lead in the 60th minute.

But it mattered little when Feki crossed for the match winner for Cronulla, capping off a lethal night for the Sharks' left edge after centre Leutele had earlier scored the first try.

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