The Sharks retained the Monty Porter Cup with a 52-16 win over the Dragons in front of a boisterous PointsBet Stadium crowd on Thursday night.
The visitors were in possession of a four-point lead after the opening quarter of the encounter thanks to tries to wingers Mikaele Ravalawa and Tautau Moga but were unable to slow down Cronulla’s attack throughout the second stanza.
The Dragons could not have asked for a better start to the contest with an opening-set Sharks error putting the Red V on the attack and Ravalawa taking a short-side Jacob Liddle face ball on the chest and slamming the ball down next to the corner-post in trademark fashion.
Zac Lomax slotted the ensuing conversion from the right touchline to make it 6-0 just three minutes in.
A penalty shortly after gave the Sharks an opportunity to attack and the hosts took full advantage through halfback Nicho Hynes who slipped through a hole off a right-side shift to dive over.
His subsequent conversion ricocheted off the left upright and snuck over to tie proceedings at six-apiece.
Mulitalo was denied a try moments later thanks to a brave cover effort courtesy of fullback Tyrell Sloan who kept the ball off the turf and forced the Sharks winger into touch.
Dale Finucane was placed on report on the quarter-mark for a dangerous throw on Dragons prop Blake Lawrie.
Off the back of it, Moga crossed for his sixth try in just three games this season in the left corner after a polished shift stripped the Sharks edge for numbers and Mathew Feagai showed off a slick pair of hands to make it 10-6.
Hynes again involved himself in the Sharks attack 15 minutes prior to the break sending Nikora through a right-side hole to give the Sharks a two-point advantage.
Jesse Ramien skied to reel in a cross-field Matt Moylan chip just after the half-hour mark and extend the Sharks lead beyond a converted try.
The Dragons spent an extensive period camped on their own line and were unable to stop interchange forward Tom Hazelton who slammed the ball down on the stroke of half-time to make it 24-10.
Against the run of play, Sloan showed off an absurd level of individual brilliance with a 90-metre, tackle-breaking pearler off a Ben Hunt clean-up effort for the first points after the break.
The Sharks went the length of the field shortly after to answer via a last-tackle switch play that resulted in a diving Mulitalo effort in the left corner as the Sharks lead ballooned beyond a pair of converted tries.
Their sixth try came on the hour-mark through William Kennedy who found space down the right edge and made a beeline for the corner.
Siosifa Talakai barged his way over back against the grain with 12 minutes on the clock to make it 40-16.
The scoring continued late for the hosts with Talakai this time putting his boot to use to send Mulitalo over for his second before Nikora grabbed his second shortly before full-time.
The hosts pulled away late to secure a 52-16 win and retain the Monty Porter Cup.