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Stuart fumes as Raiders capitulate against Sharks

Ricky Stuart has lashed an "embarrassing" and "awful" Canberra, after Cronulla pulled off a remarkable Easter Sunday resurrection to beat the Raiders 36-22.

On a bizarre night in Cronulla, the heavily-depleted Sharks came back from 18-0 down after 25 minutes to draw level by half time and run away with the game.

It came as the Raiders spluttered their way to another horror fade out, making errors at will and leaving coach Stuart seething.

"We played 12 or 14 minutes of half decent football. After that, we were embarrassing, and it was awful," Stuart said.

"We've worked too hard in the off-season. That's definitely not us. But tonight it was.

"We won't be forgetting that night real quickly, I can promise you. It was really poor and it will be dealt with."

Nicho Hynes tackles Morgan Smithies.
Nicho Hynes was in form in defence, in attack, and with the boot. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

Making Cronulla's comeback even more remarkable was the fact they were without five first-choice forwards.

But after falling behind, the Sharks somehow grew another leg with their forwards off the bench, with Jack Williams impressive and Cameron McInnes playing 80 minutes.

"That was a massive win for Cronulla, and they deserve recognition for it," Stuart said.

"Because they've been hit by a lot of injuries. You've got a lot of Newtown boys in there, second graders, and they've done the job.

"Whereas our blokes didn't."

There are also lingering concerns for the Raiders, with Zac Hosking already ruled out of next Sunday's match against Parramatta after suffering a concussion.

While both sides traded errors early, it was the Raiders who looked white-hot in the opening 25 minutes.

Xavier Savage was dangerous with every touch, stepping through four Sharks for one try and putting Canberra on the front foot in the lead-up to another.

Jamal Fogarty was kicking 40-20s, while Danny Levi was picking his moments out of dummy-half as he burrowed over for a try.

But the game swung dramatically on a successful captain's challenge from the Sharks, when an error became a penalty against Hudson Young for a flop.

Cronulla went downfield and Braydon Trindall was able to slice his way through the Raiders' right edge with a dummy and turn of speed.

And from there, it was all the Sharks, their comeback aided by Nicho Hynes landing all six conversion attempts.

Kayal Iro put Ronaldo Mulitalo over on the left wing to make it 18-12, and a piece of Blayke Brailey brilliance then ensured Cronulla would be level at the break.

Busting through the middle of the field, the Sharks hooker kicked for winger Sione Katoa and then backed up on the inside to take a long pass and score.

Sione Katoa pulls of a superb tackle on Sebastian Kris.
Sione Katoa pulls of a superb tackle on Sebastian Kris as Cronulla's defence steps up. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

Playing in his second NRL game, Iro then put Cronulla ahead with 20 minutes to play when Trindall went across-field and put him into a hole.

Mulitalo also set up another try late, and scored himself on the siren after a Katoa bust to cancel out a later four-pointer from Canberra winger James Schiller.

The win ensures Cronulla will sit on eight points after the opening five rounds, with a bye next week likely to push Craig Fitzgibbon's men into the top four.

"After that initial stage. I don't think there was a performer out there that we were thinking was getting it done," Fitzgibbon said.

"And then switch hit, and everyone started getting their jobs done.

"I'm proud of the fact it's a backs-to-the-wall performance.

"But also ... you've got to be careful because we had a terrific victory, but against a team like Canberra you won't get away with too many like that."