Sharks storm back to down fast-starting Panthers

Cronulla Sharks produced a stunning second-half fightback to defeat Penrith Panthers 24-20 in the NRL on Thursday.

The Panthers - led by former Sharks star James Maloney - were cruising as they led 14-0 at the break, but tries from Andrew Fifita and Josh Duggan in the final 10 minutes completed a remarkable turnaround.

Maloney was in inspired form early on as he supplied two try assists in the first 15 minutes, teeing up Tim Grant with a quick pass before dissecting the Sharks with a measured grubber kick for Nathan Cleary.

Cleary - clinical with the boot throughout - stretched Penrith's lead with a penalty before the 20-minute mark, yet the Panthers' momentum waned.

Instead, Bronson Xerri crossed with an incredible burst up the right flank and, although Waqa Blake responded, a penalty try brought Cronulla further into the contest.

Fifita then charged over with eight minutes remaining before Xerri set up Duggan to follow suit and complete a sublime recovery.

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