Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Five things we learned

Cronulla emerge as expected victors 22-16, but Bulldogs show promise.

1. Sharks win fifth game in a row

Many pundits, myself included, in pre-season predictions and estimations assumed that the 2018 NRL season would be the one to see the decline of the Cronulla Sharks as a regular force within the top 8 teams of the competition, and for the first few rounds of the competition, this seemed the case. However, to their credit, the Sharks have begun to turn their season around, with now 5 wins in a row. Matt Moylan and Chad Townsend’s partnership continues to grow and develop, Andrew Fifita is playing some of his best football and with the eventual returns of Wade Graham and Luke Lewis, it’s hard to see the Sharks momentum slowing down. What do pundits know, anyway?

2. Bulldogs improve, but arguably not enough to save their season

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs problems, both on the field and internally at the Belmore club, have been well documented in the media. Their salary cap has been left in an absolute mess by former coach Des Hasler and staff, and the club is set to struggle for a few more years yet before the ship can be turned around. However, I would argue it is not all gloom for the Bulldogs. In patches against the Sharks, they looked like a very good rugby league team. Aaron Woods and David Klemmer work hard in the middle, Kieran Foran continues to find his feet, and Moses Mbye at fullback has been a surprising revelation, flourishing in the role. The Bulldogs are off at the moment, but not by as much as you would read they are. They are a rugby league team with great potential.

3. NRL refereeing continues to be bad. Very bad

As a neutral fan watching this clash between the Cronulla Sharks and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, I felt I had a clear-headed and non-bias view when analyzing the game, and I found it incredible how many calls the officials got wrong in this game, with most 50/50 calls going against the Bulldogs. Whether it was forward passes not being called, incorrect penalties, penalties not being blown when they should’ve, knock ons, etc. Referees are under a lot of pressure in the public scope of the game from pundits and fans alike, and something needs to improve quickly.

4. Jesse Ramien, one for the future

The 21-year-old centre for the Cronulla Sharks is a player for the future. Ramien has a dangerous step, solid running game, and very impressive in defence, he was electrifying on the edge for the Sharks, and a big difference between the two teams. 1 try, 1 line break, 6 tackle breaks, 20 tackles, and running for over 100 metres is only half the story, he created headaches for the Bulldogs all night. The Newcastle Knights should be very pleased they have signed this young man up for the 2019 NRL season and beyond. He is a player for the future and a star in the making.

5. David Klemmer has a NSW origin jersey calling

The big man has flown under the radar with Origin talks flying around, but I think he has consolidated at least a bench position for his state on the back of his performance on Sunday afternoon for his beloved Bulldogs. 23 runs for 256m is a massive effort for a prop forward, better yet in a losing team, he was the best forward on the paddock on Sunday afternoon and there’s few a better prop going around in the NRL on their day than David Klemmer is. Give him that jersey, Freddy.

What were your highlights as the Sharks beat the Bulldogs on home turf? Let us know in the comments below.

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Kristopher Wareing

Writes and rambles on about all things involving Rugby League and Cricket.