WARRIORS 12 - 26 SHARKS
FULLTIME: That is the ball game in Auckland. The Cronulla Sharks win 26-12 over the Warriors who remain six points shy of the NRL top-right. The Sharks are now 8-1 on the road in 2017.
Plus the Warriors have lost eight-straight games without Shaun Johnson. Which shows maybe he is key to the Warriors overall success.
79mins: The ball goes to ground by the Warriors and that sums up the match for the home side.
78mins: Once again the Sharks put the ball in-to touch as we head into the dying stages of the match.
76mins: The Sharks kick the ball into touch as they try to eat up some clock.
75mins: A poor kick to end the set by Kieran Foran - who I forgot was playing tonight as he has been very quiet.
73mins: The Sharks make a mistake in front of the posts and the away side miss a chance to rub more salt into the wounds of the woeful Warriors.
72mins: The Warriors kick the ball out on the full from the restart.
72mins: Another conversion goes over the posts and the Sharks now lead by 14.
71mins: TRY SHARKS: Matt Prior throws a poor pass and it goes to ground - Jayson Bukuya then picks up the ball and he somehow gets through the tackle and dives over the line.
71mins: BUNKER SHARKS: Jayson Bukuya goes over the line after a crazy little sequence by the away side.
70mins: Nice play on the last tackle by the Warriors who kick the ball infield on the last and RTS wins the race to the ball, but the referees say he was offside.
69mins: The Sharks kick the ball into touch. Warriors scrum.
68mins: But they drop the ball once more in the red zone and the Sharks survive once more.
67mins: Now the Warriors win a penalty after Jayson Bukuya smashes Mason Lino who he kicks. The Warriors start the new set 10 out from the line.
66mins: The Warriors now have the ball but they are pinned deep inside their half.
65mins: Penalty to the Sharks 20 out and they take the tap. Another try here might mean game over. Ligi Sao tackled Chad Townsend well after he kicked the ball high.
64mins: Valentine Holmes lands the conversion from the sideline and the Sharks lead by eight points once more.
62mins: TRY SHARKS: Sosaia Feki goes over in the left corner. Simple play where they go wide and Feki dives over untouched.
61mins: On the last tackle the Sharks stab the grubber kick through and Solomone Kata hits the ball dead and the Sharks have a fresh set of six.
60mins: The crowd is not happy as Lisone has been put on report and the Sharks get the ball back on the halfway line.
59mins: Brown is on the Medi-Cab and now he is heading off the field. Many concerned faces around. Lisone might be in trouble here.
59mins: Now Fa'amanu Brown is down and out after he took Sam Lisone's knee to the head. The Medi-Cab is on the field and he does not look good.
58mins: The Warriors scramble on the last tackle and Bodene Thompson is forced to kick and he chases. However, he doesn't look good after making the tackle as he is holding his arm and now he is leaving the field.
56mins: Penalty to the Warriors. RTS dives on the ball and Sosaia Feki is pinned for not releasing.
55mins: The Warriors have to kick inside their half on the last tackle.
54mins: The Sharks kick high on the last but RTS is safe under the high ball. James Bell is off for a rest. He has played well in his debut.
53mins: The away side are making great ground here and they win a penalty.
52mins: Issac Luke makes a mistake right in front of the posts. The hooker goes to pick the ball up and pass wide but the ball just slipped out of his hands.
51mins: The Warriors with all the momentum after the win a penalty. They go on the charge 30 out from the line.
50mins: Issac Luke lands his second conversion and the Sharks only lead by two points.
49mins: TRY WARRIORS: Third time lucky for the Warriors are Bodene Thompson goes over. The forward runs a perfect line and goes over for the Warriors second try of the game.
47mins: Another set of six by the Warriors as the Sharks are forced to bat the ball dead.
46mins: Warriors force a repeat set. Mason Lino puts in a good grubber kick and Sosaia Feki is trapped in goal.
44mins: The Sharks go to kick on the last, and it comes off the side of the boot of Chad Townsend and goes out on the full.
43mins: PENALTY GOAL SHARKS: Valentine Holmes lands the goal and the Sharks now lead by eight points early in the second half.
42mins: Penalty to the Sharks and they want a shot at goal.
41mins: A mistake by the Warriors as the Sharks get the ball back. David Fusitu'a put his foot out while catching the ball but was too slow. Big blow for the Warriors.
40mins: The second half is underway in Auckland. The Warriors get the second 40 started.
HALFTIME: 40 minutes gone in Auckland and the Sharks lead the Warriors 12-6. The Sharks have been the better of the two sides in the first half as mistakes and errors have cost the Warriors on a number of occasions.
39mins: Penalty to the Warriors as Valentine Holmes was pulled up for a classic Sheppard... But it comes to nothing - the Warriors kick early in the set and the Sharks gather the ball.
38mins: Now the Sharks a mistake. The Warriors have been let off the hook.
37mins: Ken Maumalo drops the ball. and the Sharks have the ball 10 out from the line.
36mins: The Warriors are 20 out on the last and the kick it high, but Sosaia Feki takes the catch with ease.
35mins: Penalty to the Warriors who kick the ball into touch.
34mins: James Bell is on the field for his NRL debut.
34mins: Another penalty to the Sharks.
33mins: The conversion is over and the Sharks once again lead by six.
32mins: TRY SHARKS: The Sharks hit right back. A pass to Mason Lino goes to ground and Fa'amanu Brown swoops on the ball and goes over the line to score.
30mins: From the sideline and Issac Luke kicks it right over the black dot. We are all square in Auckland. at 6-all.
29mins: TRY WARRIORS: It was against the run of play but Solomone Kata has try number four of 2017. The Sharks attack wide and James Segeyaro throws the ball wide and Solomone Kata intercepts the ball and he wins the 60-metre race to the line.
27mins: Ladies turn away as Issac Luke has just had his top completely ripped off and he is still running around. The Warriors kick high and the Sharks let the ball bounce and it goes dead.
26mins: The Sharks kick the ball into touch as they have a breather.
25mins: Another penalty to the Warriors 10 out from the line.... And once more the ball goes to ground on the right side of the field. Mason Lino tried throwing back on the inside to his captain but the pass did not connect.
24mins: The Warriors win a penalty just inside their half for a high tackle. They kick the ball into touch and they have a fresh set of six, 30 out from the line.
22mins: The Warriors have the ball back and on the second tackle, Ken Maumalo makes some great ground through the middle and it takes four players to get him down. Two plays later, the home side makes another error and the Sharks are off the hook.
21mins: The Warriors fail to score and the Sharks are back on the attack.
21mins: NO TRY WARRIORS: The Bunker says no try and the Mt Smart faithful are not happy.
21mins: BUNKER WARRIORS: Issac Luke goes over and is claiming a try. But the referees want to to take a look. They go up saying try.
20mins: A fresh set of six for the Warriors in the red zone, after the Sharks played at the ball.
19mins: The crowd is not happy after David Fusitu'a returned the ball and they tried to play it quickly, but no penalty was blown.
18mins: Simon Mannering goes close on the second tackle. On the last, the Warriors lose possession of the ball.
17mins: The Warriors win a penalty. Some quick play-the-balls and the Sharks were caught offside.
16mins: The Sharks are hot on the attack once more. On the last tackle the kick to David Fusitu'a who is always safe under the high ball.
14mins: Chad Townsend kicks high and Andrew Fifita jumps high and catches the ball. He goes to dive over but drops the ball and the Warriors survive.
13mins: Fa'amanu Brown kicks early and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is in goal to gather the ball but he is trapped. Goal line dropout.
11mins: Another penalty to the Sharks. The Warriors discipline is not good early on. The Sharks kick for touch and it falls short of the sideline, but eventually, bounces out.
10mins: The Warriors are now 20 out. Next play they attack right, but Mason Lino bobbles the ball and it goes forward.
9mins: Sosaia Feki make a mistake in the play-the-ball and the Warriors will have a scrum 30 out from the line.
8mins: The Warriors get to the last tackle and put up an attacking kick which bounces into touch.
7mins: The Sharks spread the ball wide and Fa'amanu Brown kicks and the Warriors take back possession.
6mins: The Sharks get to the kick and now the Warriors get back on the attack.
5mins: The conversion goes over and the Sharks lead 6-0 early.
4mins: TRY SHARKS: Kurt Capewell scores the first try of the match. A nice grubber by Chad Townsend and Capewell dives on the ball to score. Great start by the Sharks.
2mins: Another penalty to the Sharks. They start the set 25 out from the line.
1mins: Good first set by the Warriors who get inside the Sharks half. But on the last tackle, Mason Lino kicks high to Holmes and he is taken out in the air.
KICKOFF: We are underway in Auckland. The Warriors have the ball first.
7:59 pm: The Warriors are out on the field.
7:58 pm: The Sharks are out on the field.
7:50 pm: The Warriors are walking back to the sheds. Kickoff is not far away.
7:47 pm: The Cronulla Sharks have gone back to the sheds while the Warriors are still warming up on the field.
7:43 pm: The Sharks have only lost one match on the road this season - which was against the Gold Coast Titans.
7:30 pm: We are live at Mt Smart Stadium as the Warriors face the Sharks. Jack Bird is out for the Sharks while James Bell will start from the bench for the Warriors - replacing Chris Satae.
Hello and welcome to live updates of the New Zealand Warriors vs Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
We bring you live streaming written commentary, video highlights (be sure to refresh your browser) and all the action. VIDEO will be available as soon as the final whistle goes.
Commentary will start from around 7:30 pm (NZT). In the meantime check out the video above as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck talks about the importance of winning the round 21 clash against the Sharks.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu'a, 3. Blake Ayshford, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6.Kieran Foran, 7. Mason Lino, 8. Jacob Lillyman, 9. Issac Luke, 15. Sam Lisone, 11. Bodene Thompson, 12. Bunty Afoa, 13. Simon Mannering
Interchange: 10: Ben Matulino, 14. Ata Hingano, 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Ligi Sao, 20. James Bell
1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Sosaia Feki, 16. Kurt Capewell, 4. Ricky Leutele, 5. Gerard Beale, 6. Fa'amanu Brown, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. James Segeyaro, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Luke Lewis, 12. Wade Graham, 13. Paul Gallen
Interchange: 14. Jayson Bukuya, 15. Chris Heighington, 17. Jeremy Latimore, 19. Adam Clydsdale
Match facts and stats
Referees: Matt Cecchin and Gavin Reynolds
Sideline Officials: Chris McMillan and Russell Turner
Review Officials: Bryan Norrie and Jared Maxwell
Cronulla has won seven of their past nine NRL matches against the Warriors - however, each of the previous four has been decided by four points or less.
The Warriors have lost just twice at Mount Smart Stadium in 2017, to Melbourne and Penrith.
The Sharks have lost away from home just once in 2017.
*Head to head: Played 36, Warriors s 18, Sharks 20, draws 0
In Auckland: Played 16, Warriors 9, Sharks 7, draws 0
Last time played: Sharks 19 def Warriors 18, June 25, 2016
Last time in Auckland: Sharks 18 def Warriors 14, August 1, 2015
Head-to-head: Warriors- $2.25 Sharks- $1.60
*Stats from NRL.com
Pre-match banter - The Warriors are looking forward despite NRL finals hopes fading fast
The maths are looking increasingly grim for the Warriors - but a flicker of NRL finals hope continues to burn.
With six round-robin matches remaining, Stephen Kearney's troops need at least five wins to hit the traditional 28-point finals barrier - yet, beyond Friday's clash with the high-flying Sharks, that challenge doesn't seem insurmountable.
Matches against fellow battlers Newcastle, Canberra and South Sydney will follow, before a major test at home in the form of sixth-placed Manly.
A tussle with the lowly Tigers will then close out the season.
For Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, there's no reason why his 12th-placed side can't sneak into the top eight - or even cause an upset this weekend over the fourth-placed Sharks, who have lost three of their past six games.
All the right signs had been there in the Warriors' 24-12 loss to North Queensland last weekend, particularly up front.
Typically flaky for much of the 2017 campaign, the Warriors' forwards showed genuine steel against the Cowboys, making more running metres than their opponents and neutralising the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Coen Hess.
"The Sharks, they're another similar team to the Cowboys - a big forward pack," Tuivasa-Sheck said, referring to the rampaging Andrew Fifita.
"If we can continue to have our middles play that physical game up front, and a few of us fix our execution plays - that's where we lost in the last game - against the Sharks, we can fix it up and come away with the points.
"A lot of the errors from the Cowboys game were players just not clear on what plays we're on, where we're supposed to be."
With Shaun Johnson still nursing a knee injury, Mason Lino retains his grip on the Warriors' No.7 jumper ahead of fellow young gun Ata Hingano.
More damaging for Kearney's side, however, is the loss of prop James Gavet to an arm injury - placing the onus on Ben Matulino and Jacob Lillyman to front.
Kearney was confident the pair would do the business.
"The focus this week is on making sure, up against another good team, that we make them earn every metre they can," Kearney said.
"All week it's been about making sure it's an 80-minute performance, and not having those periods where we drop off. It's a wonderful challenge against the defending premiers and what they bring."