NRL thriller sees understrength home side topple the Rabbtiohs.
The Cronulla Sharks have stunned competition leader South Sydney Rabbtiohs to earn a hard-fought 14-12 win at Toyota Stadium.
For much of the game the Rabbtiohs were their own worst enemies as they ran up a staggering penalty count of 12-3 against them, handing plenty of possession to the home side.
But in wet conditions it was the Sharks defence that keep them in the game, with the victory seeing the Shire-based side climb back into the top eight thanks to their fourth win in a row.
Victory was even more impressive for the Sharks given they were missing Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and Michael Gordon who were rested from the game with injuries.
Sharks hooker John Morris opened the scoring for the home side after he scooted from dummy-half to crash over underneath the posts.
Cronulla were forced to defend two plays with only 12 men after Sam Tagatese was forced of to have a bloody cut on his head attended.
As a result, the Rabbtiohs shifted the ball to the left wing to see Bryson Goodwin slid across in the corner, with the Adam Reynolds conversion leveling up the scores.
Both forwards packs enjoyed the battle up the middle as they gained easy metres as rain began to fall to make conditions under foot greasy and handling even more paramount for both sides.
Ben Te’o limped off with a corked leg 10 minutes before half time with a corked shin only not to play no further part in the game, in what will be a concern for Queensland ahead of the State of Origin series.
Issac De Gois looked to have spun across the line only to be held up by desperate South Sydney defence to keep the scores locked at six-all.
But that merely delayed the inevitable as Jason Bukuya scored off the back of a kick to give the home side a handy lead at 12-6.
South Sydney lock Sam Burgess was placed on report for a crusher tackler on Andrew Fifita in the 34th minute, which only served to fire up the Englishman.
Cronulla dominated possession late in the first stanza but only desperate defence but South Sydney denied the Sharks from building an even bigger lead at the break,
Souths were the first on the board in the second stanza when they found Burgess on the right edge, with the powerful lock bulldozing his way across the line to make the score 12-all.
A strip in the tackle on Andrew Fifita saw the Sharks have a shot for goal as Carney put his side in front 14-12 with 22 minutes left.
Fifita showed why he had been called up to the State of Origin side with the bullocking prop finishing with 24 runs for a staggering 216 metres with 42 tackles
Souths are making plenty of mistakes coming out of their own half in the greasy conditions with Cronulla having had plenty of ball
Rabbtiohs five-eighth John Sutton was taken from the field after copping a high shot to the jaw in a tackle, but amazingly, the hit was not put on report despite the video referee seeing the incident five times on replay.
The penalty count continuing to hurt the Rabbtiohs chances of victory, but they found themselves close enough if Cronulla could not captalise on the excellent field position.
But it wasn’t to be for the Bunnies who lost just their second game of the season, but remained on top of the ladder after 11 rounds.