Cronulla Sharks roar back to beat Canberra Raiders in a stunning NRL turnaround at Shark Park

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The Raiders led the Sharks 18-0 before conceding five straight tries to lose the match in what marked an inexplicable capitulation from Ricky Stuart’s men.

Cronulla’s 34-22 victory at Shark Park was sparked when the Bunker controversially ruled a 26th minute captain’s challenge in their favour.

The ruling got them back in the contest and it was one-way traffic from that point onwards as Braydon Trindall sliced his way through to score just a few plays later.

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It was all Canberra early and on their fourth crack at the line they scored thanks to a Matt Timoko tap-on for James Schiller to cross in the corner in the 12th minute.

Jamal Fogarty nailed the sideline conversion on his non-preferred side and next it was Xavier Savage slicing through some poor defence to score the second in the 18th minute.

Fogarty booted a 40-20 and the Raiders were in again just a few plays later with Danny Levi darting over from close range in the 24th minute.

But a shocking finish to the first half saw them concede three quick tries to Trindall, Ronaldo Mulitalo and Blayke Brailey as the Sharks drew level.

They took the lead when Kayal Iro crossed in the 59th minute and Mulitalo bagged his double in the 63rd minute to make it 30 unanswered points.

Schiller scored his second in the 72nd minute to set up a potential grandstand finish, but Fogarty’s sideline conversion hit the post.

Sharks winger Sione Katoa completed the rout at the death and Nicho Hynes made it six-from-six off the tee.

All the talk heading into the sold out PointsBet Stadium clash focused on how Cronulla would combat the loss of injured trio Dale Finucane, Toby Rudolf and Royce Hunt.

Initially they had no answer as Canberra bookends Josh Papali’i and Joseph Tapine made merry up Main Street as the Sharks’ defence folded faster than a sunburnt chocolate egg.

When No. 9 Danny Levi burrowed over for Canberra’s third after 23 minutes, it looked game over. But with a rusty start and the horrors of round three in the rearview mirror, Hynes and fellow playmaker Braydon Trindall quickly changed the tide.

Trindall sliced through to put the home side on the board, and it quickly became a feeding frenzy when hooker Brailey crossed from a questionable pass to level the scores at half time.

Cronulla went on with it after the break, adding another two tries and with a bye next week and the potential return of several stars, they are well placed with three wins from four starts.

It ended up a tough night for Corey Horsburgh in his first NRL appearance of the season. Called up during the week to play on the bench, the big Queenslander got through 48 minutes, and if he could, he’d take back one horrible handling blunder.

With the scores still locked at the half time score, Canberra were given a perfect chance to regain the lead after a William Kennedy fumble. Standing one pass off the ruck, Horsburgh grassed what could have been his side’s best chance of a recovery.

Originally published as Canberra blow 18-point lead as Sharks maul reckless Raiders