Sharks squeeze past Warriors to extend winning run, Broncos battered


NRL leaders Cronulla Sharks equalled a club record of 11 straight wins on Saturday in the most dramatic fashion, James Maloney's golden-point drop goal securing a 19-18 home triumph over New Zealand Warriors.

The Warriors fought back from 18-10 down to force extra time, but were finally beaten when Maloney stepped to the right of two defenders in the 87th minute before splitting the posts from around 22 metres with a kick that only just cleared the crossbar.

Michael Ennis, Ricky Leutele and Jayson Bukuya had crossed in the space of 14 minutes either side of half-time as the Sharks responded strongly to tries from Blake Ayshford and Jonathan Wright.

A Thomas Leuluai four-pointer and Issac Luke's late penalty forced additional time, but Cronulla were not to be denied despite Ben Barba spurning a superb try-scoring opportunity.

The Sharks' win came a day on from the death of former Australia captain Greg Pierce, who was hailed on Saturday by NRL CEO Todd Greenberg as: "one of the greatest players to pull on a Cronulla jumper".

Brett Morris claimed a second-half hat-trick as Canterbury Bulldogs thumped Brisbane Broncos 40-14 at ANZ Stadium.

Corey Oates put the visitors ahead in Wayne Bennett's 750th game as an NRL coach, but Tony Williams and Sam Kasiano replied before the interval and the Bulldogs then surged clear in the second half as Morris took centre stage.

A blistering start, featuring three tries in the first 15 minutes, set St George Illawarra Dragons on their way to a 30-18 victory over the beleaguered Newcastle Knights.