12-man Sharks beat odds to down Warriors

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Cronulla have defied the odds and record books to register a 29-10 NRL win over the Warriors while being a man down after fullback Will Kennedy was sent off early.

Craig Fitzgibbon's side not only held the Warriors scoreless in the second half, they also scored four tries while having one less player.

Cronulla's star recruit Nicho Hynes described the performance in Sunday's clash at PointsBet Stadium as one of "the gutsiest efforts" he's ever been part of.

"I've been in a few with the Storm but I'm very proud of the Sharks boys here tonight," Hynes said.

The win allowed the Sharks to leapfrog Parramatta and climb back into the top-four.

They lost Kennedy in just the 16th minute for a dangerous high tackle after he stuck his left arm out and hooked a stepping Reece Walsh around the neck.

Walsh jumped straight to his feet but referee Todd Smith wasn't swayed. Kennedy became the third NRL player sent-off this year after Mitch Barnett (Newcastle) and Karl Lawton (Manly).

Neither the Knights nor Sea Eagles were able to win those matches, and it has been 14 years - Manly in 2008 against the Raiders - since a team has won with 12 men.

The Sharks' win was even more courageous as they were temporarily reduced to 11 men when Jesse Ramien was sin-binned for a shoulder into Euan Aitken's head in the second half. Aitken failed the subsequent concussion test.

Fitzgibbon later revealed half his squad was suffering from the flu during the week, including winger Ronaldo Mulitalo who withdrew on Saturday.

"We were never going to use it as an excuse - a lot of other teams are going through it - but we had to train in two separate groups during the week," Fitzgibbon said, before explaining his instructions once Kennedy was dismissed.

"We had the mentality to scramble but then we got the ball they were under instructions to play footy - we're not going to die wondering... just throw the ball around as much as you can."

Captain Wade Graham said the "will by the boys to keep turning up for each other" got them the victory.

The lead changed three times in the opening 40 minutes.

The Sharks were first to score through Hynes but, after they were reduced to 12 men, the Warriors scored twice through winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and centre Viliami Vailea.

Teig Wilton pulled one back for the Sharks but the Warriors were very much in the thick of the action when down only12-10 at halftime.

Then the wheels fell off in the second.

"You'd like to think that if you get a shot down there you're going to come up with something," Warriors coach Nathan Brown said of his side's inability to take advantage inside the Sharks' 20-metre zone.

"We've had one or two games this year where we've started to get some really nice flow in our attack... but apart from that we're not replicating on the field the way we train."

The Warriors missed 45 tackles, made two line-breaks to seven by the Sharks but none in the second half, and had just six off-loads compared with 19 by the Sharks.

The free-flowing football came to the fore when the home side posted three second-half tries - two to winger Connor Tracey returning after five weeks out with a groin strain, and one to Ramien with four minutes to play.

For the Warriors, it was as humiliating as the 70-10 loss to the Storm on Anzac Day.

They remain in 10th spot on the NRL ladder with South Sydney up next in Magic Round.

The Sharks have the Raiders next at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

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