NRL 2021 round 14 LIVE updates: Sea Eagles v Cowboys and Sharks v Panthers
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That’s it from here. A great way to finish the night, the Sharks upsetting Penrith in a thriller.
The take-outs from this edition of Friday night footy ...
- Manly can win without Tom Trbojevic;
- The race for the minor premiership and top eight is still very much alive;
- Wade Graham’s career is again in the balance after a nasty concussion;
- The Panthers have amazing depth, but the State of Origin period has brought them back to the pack;
- Shaun Johnson has shown he still has something to offer in the NRL.
That’s all from us, good night!
Let’s now hear from the man of the moment, Shaun Johnson. This is what he said about his contractual status after full-time.
“I got the news a couple of weeks back and obviously it wasn’t the news I wanted to hear,” Johnson said of the Sharks’ decision not to re-sign him.
“I’d hoped to see my career out at this club, they gave me an opportunity three years ago and I certainly enjoyed my time here. It wasn’t to be, I certainly enjoyed my time here and their direction, I really respect that.
“All I can focus on is getting out there, getting some games under my belt and trusting that next year will look after itself.
“Tonight hopefully helps.
“If there’s any clubs after a halfback, I’m your man.”
And how about THAT field goal.
“Oh bra, I don’t know how that went over,” he said.
“I saw [Dylan] Edwards coming out at me, it was one of those ones I felt I just needed to get it out.
“I feel like the whole stadium, bro, went silent in that one moment. You could hear a penny drop.
“When it went over, I was like ‘Did that even go over?’
What a game of football!
Cronulla seemingly had it in the bag when they shot out to an 18-0 half-time lead. But just as the game appeared to be going into extra time after a spirited Penrith comeback, Shaun Johnson kicked the match-winning field goal.
Huge moment for the Sharks and also for Johnson, who remains uncontracted for next season. Cronulla is now on the cusp of the top eight, an unthinkable position given their poor start to the season.
Penrith, meanwhile, have recorded back-to-back losses and are in danger of losing top spot on the ladder. If the Storm win and win well against the Warriors, we could have a new competition leader.
Matt Burton was outstanding in the second half, scoring or setting up tries to keep his side in it. What a pick up he will be for the Bulldogs next season.
The big talking point, however, is another concussion to Wade Graham. The veteran Shark passed his head-injury assessment, but wouldn’t have been permitted to continue regardless given he had the wobbly boot after coming off second best in a collision with Robert Jennings.
Graham has a history of head knocks and this latest one will raise further questions about his future in the game.
Earlier in the evening, Manly proved they can win without Tom Trbojevic with a come-from-behind 50-18 win.
The full-time whistle has sounded. Shaun Johnson has won it for Cronulla! What a finish.
And there it is. Shaun Johnson has just kicked a field goal to give his side the lead with just over a minute on the clock. It was Johnson’s first field goal since 2018 ... against Cronulla. It was an ugly thing, but it got over the crossbar. Looks like Cronulla are home.
Not long to go now. This is the time for the sharpshooters to step up and execute. Can sense a field goal in regular or extra time.
The Panthers have just earned a penalty just to the side of the uprights. Stephen Crichton has made no mistake this time, kicking the penalty goal. We’re all tied up at 18-all with less than five minutes to go. Strap in, footy fans.
Well how about that, Matt Burton has just scored. He has been absolutely dominant in this second half, displaying his full array of skills. This time it was a wicked sidestep that did the job. Conversion unsuccessful, Sharks lead is just 18-16.
Izack Tago has just scored and it’s game on! A few moments ago, Matt Burton put through an ordinary kick that resulted in Cronulla streaking upfield. This time he nailed it, gruberring into the in-goal and Tago did the rest. Just under 10 minutes to go, this is far from over.
Sharks just holding on, their lead has been reduced to 18-12.
Viliame Kikau has just gone down. Play was stopped while the big man went to the sideline for an assessment.
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