Sharks overcome spirited Thunderbolts
A spirited Melbourne Thunderbolts have fallen 30-36 against the Cronulla Sharks in their Round 26 NYC clash at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The topsy-turvy contest saw the lead change four times in the second half alone as both sides traded six tries each during an entertaining encounter.
Winger Nat McGavin scored four tries against the fourth-placed Sharks, with the six-point loss ending the Thunderbolts' season in 12th position on the ladder.
Melbourne opened the scoring after only three minutes when McGavin snuck over in the corner with Jesse Arthars' conversion handing the home side a 6-0 lead.
Cronulla replied in the 15th minute with an inside ball allowing centre Lachlan Stein a clear passage to the try line and seven minutes later prop Daniel Vasquez strolled over to take the score out to 12-6.
The Sharks' third try of the afternoon came off the back of a repeat set with the hulking Justin Timu stretching out to place the Steeden on the chalk.
Kyle Flanagan added the extras for the visitors to hand them an 18-6 advantage after 32 minutes.
The Thunderbolts struck shortly before half-time when McGavin claimed his second try, which saw Melbourne trailing by eight points at the break.
Errors haunted the 'Bolts during the first half and they continued into the second stanza with a simple play-the-ball mistake from the opening set almost resulting in a Cronulla try.
However, when they did manage to hold the ball they crafted out an entertaining long-range try that allowed McGavin to claim his hat-trick and bring the Thunderbolts to within four points of levelling the scoreboard.
Melbourne hit the lead in the 53rd minute when a clever inside ball by Josh Kerr sent Riley Leota over the line and Arthars steered his conversion inside the uprights to hand his side a 20-18 lead.
Unfortunately the Thunderbolts failed to hold the lead for long and Cronulla reclaimed the ascendancy in the 60th minute through a try to Blayke Brailey.
In the blink of an eye Melbourne led again after a right-edge raid resulted in a try to Scott Drinkwater with Arthars nailing a difficult conversion from out wide.
Only minutes later the Sharks circled again and scored in the corner via Flanagan, who converted his own try for a 30-26 Cronulla lead in the 70th minute.
The Sharks stretched their lead beyond a converted try six minutes from fulltime after another Thunderbolts' error allowed Stein to collect the ball and race 65 metres to score his second.
McGavin claimed his fourth try of the afternoon with four minutes left on the clock, but despite some late and desperate football it was too late for the Thunderbolts to score again, eventually going down by six points.
Cronulla Sharks NYC 36 (Lachlan Stein 2, Daniel Vasquez, Justin Timu, Blayke Brailey, Kyle Flanagan tries; Flanagan 6 goals) defeated Melbourne Thunderbolts 30 (Nat McGavin 4, Riley Leota, Scott Drinkwater tries; Jesse Arthars 3 goals) at Sunshine Coast Stadium. Half-time: Sharks 18-10.