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Stand-ins leave nothing in reserve to ensure tough day for Titans

Date

Glenn Jackson

CRONULLA 22 GOLD COAST 12

Colin Best's second half try was crucial to Sharks victory.

Colin Best's second half try was crucial to Sharks victory. Photo: Steve Christo

For a match that was meant to mean nothing, this match sure proved a lot. You had to look hard to find it but, when you did, the result might just have shown as much about Cronulla as any other in the season.

MATCH STATS

It was obvious in the work of five-eighth Chad Townsend, who stood to lose the most from Todd Carney's arrival at the club. In his first game of the season, due to a combination of Carney and a cracked sternum, Townsend rose to the challenge.

The Titans' Jamal Idris makes a run. Click for more photos

Sharks tower over the Titans

Rugby League, round 13, the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs the Gold Coast Titans at Toyota Park, Sunday June 10th, 2012. The Sharks beat the Titans 22 - 12. All pictures by Steve Christo. Photo: Steve Christo

As did Jeremy Smith, who was captain in place of Paul Gallen. The second-rower played after getting minimal sleep following the birth of his third child on Saturday morning. He said he would have played regardless of when his partner went into labour.

Previously, the Sharks have had players out of their depth, but these days, the club has reserve graders who can step up and look at home, not to mention the likes of Smith, who brought Gallen's inspiration.

The Sharks needed Smith and Townsend to step up. Both delivered and each scored a try to celebrate their respective milestones. In the past, taking Gallen out of the Cronulla line-up would be akin to telling a 100 metre sprinter that he has to race in a sack. Not yesterday.

''People stand up, given the opportunity,'' coach Shane Flanagan said.

The match, obviously, was missing much of its star power. Not only were the Sharks missing Gallen and Carney, the Titans were without an entire back row, as well as their injured captain Scott Prince. This was, really, a good advertisement for why State of Origins should be on stand-alone weekends.

The players produced a contest that belied both the wet conditions and the depleted line-ups, but that is missing the point. Supporters want to pay to watch, whether via the grandstand or subscription television, the best teams.

Having said that, Townsend wasn't complaining about the current system. It is the only reason he is waking this morning sore and weary after an NRL match.

''I was pretty grateful that I got my chance,'' he said. ''I really wanted to make the most of it.

''Obviously Todd's been in amazing form, and with him being out in Origin, I set myself that this could be the game that 'Flanno' could call me up. I was just happy that I got the game and we got the win.''

Townsend, who played 11 matches last season, started this year in NSW Cup before suffering the painful injury.

He played yesterday with a sternum guard that he will need to protect the area for the rest of the season, whether he is in the NRL or - perhaps more likely given the form of Carney, half Jeff Robson, as well as the club's other chief playmaker Wade Graham - plying away again in the lower-tier comp.

''We've always been confident that, once he gets his chance, he's a first-grader,'' Flanagan said.

Then there was Smith, who deputised admirably for Gallen just a day after the birth of Jeremy jnr.

''I always would have played,'' Smith said afterwards about the prospect of missing the match. In the conditions and with the players missing, effort was the key; and it was the Sharks who came up with the crucial ones.

Smith started the ball rolling with a 17th minute try, following Robson's neat around-the-corner offload. The Sharks were dominating the possession statistics, even if they were not quite doing the same on the scoreboard.

Their plan was to romp up the field through their forwards and then bomb the heck out of Titans fullback Jamie Dowling. He was an obvious target - a debutant fullback on a very wet day.

''It was a tough ask,'' coach John Cartwright said. ''It wasn't the best conditions for a young fella to make his debut at fullback, but he diffused a lot of their attacking kicks and he turned up in all the right places.''

Dowling certainly handled most of what was hoisted his way. Even when he didn't, he made up for his error. After dropping a Townsend bomb, he made the next two tackles for his team.

The Titans showed fight to haul themselves back into the contest at various stages of the game, yet the Sharks, with tries to Colin Best and Isaac De Gois in the second half, always had too much.

Which makes a change from having never enough.

CRONULLA 22 (C Best I De Gois J Smith C Townsend tries C Townsend 3 goals) bt GOLD COAST 12 (B Champion M Srama tries A Sezer 2 goals) at Toyota Stadium. Referee: Gavin Badger, Jason Robinson. Crowd: 8635.

 

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NRL Season 2015

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PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
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NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
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PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
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STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
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CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
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NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
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CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
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PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
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MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
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NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
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CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
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CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
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SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
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CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
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GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
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NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
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Round 16
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BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
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NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
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WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
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PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
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STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
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MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
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Round 18
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CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
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PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
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NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
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GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
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PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
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NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
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SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
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MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
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Round 20
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BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
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NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
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SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
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PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
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Round 21
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Round 22
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BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
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NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
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MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
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CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
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Round 23
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NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
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BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
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WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
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CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
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CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
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Round 24
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STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
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CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
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MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
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MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
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PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
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WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR ($1.50)vs PEN ($2.65) 19:30GIO
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Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI ($1.50)vs MEL ($2.50) 19:45SUN
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.40)vs SOU ($2.80) 19:45AS
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN ($1.50)vs NEW ($2.50) 15:00Pepp
STG ($1.57)vs WST ($2.30) 17:30ANZ
NQL ($1.18)vs GCT ($4.60) 19:301300
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR ($1.83)vs CBR ($1.91) 14:00Pirtek
CRO ($1.62)vs MAN ($2.20) 16:00Rem
CBY ($1.06)vs NZW ($8.00) 18:30ANZ
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NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Sydney Roosters 23 17 6 0 38
Brisbane Broncos 23 17 6 0 38
North Queensland Cowboys 23 16 7 0 36
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 23 14 9 0 32
Melbourne Storm 23 13 10 0 30
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 23 13 10 0 30
South Sydney Rabbitohs 23 13 10 0 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 23 11 12 0 26
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