Neither side could take a trick in 'Magic Round' with injuries, but Cronulla held on to conjure a 26-18 NRL win over Gold Coast Titans on Thursday night.
In possibly Paul Gallen's last game at Suncorp Stadium, the veteran Sharks captain fittingly sealed the come-from-behind win by barging over for the match-winning try right on fulltime.
- Roger Tuivasa-Sheck confident Warriors can turn around fortunes
- Kodi Nikorima to wear number-six jersey for Warriors debut
The Sharks' horror run with injury continued, when they lost props Andrew Fifita (hamstring) and Matt Prior (shoulder) by the 20th minute.
They were already reeling from the loss of Wade Graham (knee), Shaun Johnson (hamstring), Aaron Woods (foot) and Matt Moylan (hamstring).
Yet Gallen and halfback Chad Townsend stood tall to help Cronulla (5-4 record) reel in the Titans' 18-10 halftime lead and kick off the historic 'Magic Round' with victory in front of a 17,113-strong crowd.
Gallen sealed the victory by kicking the conversation for his try, giving a wry smile to the pro-Queensland crowd to mark just his fifth win in 24 games in all formats at the venue.
He currently sits on the most NRL losses in history with Scott Prince - a total of 166 defeats.
But he was all smiles, after Cronulla overcame yet more injuries to back up from their last round boilover against Melbourne.
Gold Coast were counting the cost of their third straight loss, losing prop Shannon Boyd with a head knock in just the 11th minute.
Titans already had enough fitness worries, with Tyrone Roberts (concussion), Nathan Peats (pectoral), Phillip Sami (ankle) and skipper Ryan James (knee) on the sidelines.
The portents weren't good for the Gold Coast, when Jarrod Wallace knocked on from the kick-off.
And alarm bells were ringing, after a Josh Morris double gave Cronulla a 10-6 lead by the 23rd minute.
Gold Coast hit back, when AJ Brimson cleaned up from a knock-on, after a bust from Sharks reserve forward Braden Hamlin-Uele, to score in the 26th minute.
And the Titans grabbed the halftime lead, when Tyrone Peachey scored off an Ash Taylor grubber in the 37th minute.
But after an Aaron Gray try double early in the second half locked up the scores at 18-18, Peachey turned from hero to villain, when he gave away a 75th minute penalty that gave Cronulla the lead and Gallen ensured they didn't look back.
Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Warriors v Dragons NRL clash