The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have been defeated 36-10 by a firing Cronulla Sharks Holden Cup side at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night.
It took the fast-starting Sharks just over 15 minutes to post a 12-point lead, courtesy of four-pointers from winger Sione Katoa and centre Lachlan Stein, and the boot of Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga.
In the 21st minute winger Josh Tuilagi added another four-points to the Sharks tally for a 16-0 lead mid-way through the first half.
The Blue and Gold came close as prop Kurt De Luis was held up in goal in a controversial no-try, before the home side answered back through fullback Will Kennedy in the corner, heading back to the sheds with a 22-0 lead at the halftime break.
The young Eels increased the pressure early in the second half, as Mason Cerruto threatened the line with some footwork, before Michael Doolan crossed for a try in the 49th minute.
The game heated up with some push-and-shove bubbling up as an Eels grubber went dead, before play headed deep into the Sharks end for captain Jayden Brailey to barge over from short range and plant the ball to extend Cronulla’s lead to 28-6.
A penalty goal from Aufaga-Toomaga extended the Sharks’ lead, while a try to Eels forward Tim Field took the Blue and Gold into double digits for a 30-10 scoreline.
A late error from the Eels with a pass going to ground opened the door for Josh Tuilagi to scoop up the ball and run 90 metres for his second try of the night, and Aufaga-Toomaga’s fifth conversion of the night sealed the 36-10 victory.
Cronulla Sharks - 36 (Katoa, Stein, Tuilagi 2, Kennedy, Brailey. Aufaga-Toomaga: 5/6. Penalty goals - Aufaga-Toomaga: 1/1)
Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 10 (Doolan, Field. Doolan: 1/2)