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Warriors 14 Sharks 22
Warriors (Murchie & Pompey tries; Harris-Tavita 2 conversions & penalty) Sharks (Katoa, Mulitalo 2 & Rudolf tries; Johnson 2 conversions & penalty)
40th minute: Warriors kick shot, but fail to reach the 10 metres. The siren sounds on their playoff hopes and the Sharks clinch their spot in the post-season.
38th minute: TRY to Mulitalo
Harris-Tavita chips, but Katoa gathers and races 60m upfield. When the ball goes left, Mulitalo is alone on the sideline and dives over in the corner for the game clincher.
Johnson hits the upright with his sideline conversion attempt.
37th minute: Johnson kicks high on the last tackle and Jennings catches. Tevaga offloads to Harris-Tavita.
36th minute: Warriors kick off long
34th minute: TRY to Rudolf
Warriors have to hold on here.
Hamlin-Uele puts Johnson through a gap and he's dragged down short of the line. Two tackles later, Rudolf - yes, the guy who was meant to come to the Warriors next year, runs onto a pass and cannot be stopped close to the line.
33rd minute: Nikorima kicks high, but Mulitalo is high and safe. Talakai bounces off Hiku, makes good metes and earns a penalty for the Sharks.
Hiku leaves for an HIA, he's gone for the game.
32nd minute: Nikorima has been treated for a corked bicep, RTS is a little gimpy with a calf niggle.
31st minute: Harris-Tavita kicks long on the last, Katoa and Mulitalo takes the ball across field, and the Sharks are already at halfway.
Johnson kicks to the goal-line for Katoa, but RTS pressures the winger into a knock-on - that was a narrow escape for the Warriors.
30th minute: Nikorima reels out of a tackle holding his arm. Johnson kicks high and RTS is safe.
29th minute: Taunoa-Brown and Harris are both stopped just short of the line, but a long pass to Hiku is spilled forward and Sharks can clear.
28th minute: Hamiln-Uele loses the ball in a tackle inside his own half, so Warriors have good position again.
Play halts, while Katoa is treated for a leg injury.
27th minute: Burr drives towards the posts and Nikorima's gubber kick behind the line runs long.
RTS challenges the call and replays show Perham has pushed Katoa into the ball - unsuccessful challenge.
25th minute: Sharks are penalised for offside, when Dugan is ruled to be in front of the previous tackle and then gains possession. Warriors hot on attack now.
24th minute: RTS reaches halfway and Murchie rumbles deep inside Sharks territory. Harris-Tavita kicks high, but Katoa leaps high to claim the ball.
22nd minute: Harris-Tavita kicks it low and splits the posts for a Warriors lead.
21st minute: Nikora is penalised for a high shot Alvaro and the Warriors will have good field position.
RTS points to the posts and Harris-Tavita will try for two points from 42 metres.
20th minute: Big defensive set here for the Warriors. Sharks go right and Tracey is dragged down short.
Woods is also stopped and Johnson's kick towards the posts goes long.
19th minute: Johnson bombs to Jennings, but Warriors are penalised for interference from Perham.
18th minute: Nikorima kicks from deep inside his half and Mulitalo has the ball on the Sharks 30.
17th minute: Ramien manages an offload to Kennedy, Woods reaches halfway, where Johnson again bombs Pompey, who is safer this time.
16th minute: Johnson kicks high towards Pompey, who spills the ball backwards. Hiku scoops it to RTS behind his goal-line and he reaches safety.
15th minute: Kennedy takes a high kick from Harris-Tavita and Mulitalo makes good ground upfield. CHT is still on the ground, after Hunt took him down hard.
14th minute: Alvaro takes the ball up from the kick-off. RTS makes halfway on the last tackled.
11th minute: TRY to Pompey
Papalii takes a half-gap on the Sharks 20 and wins a penalty. Harris-Tavita is stopped short of the line, Blair offloads to Egan, who heads towards the posts.
The ball goes right, Hiku smuggles the ball to Pompey, who is over in the corner. Harris-Tavita sneaks the conversion inside the far post to lock the scores up.
Ninth minute: Warriors get a set restart, but Fifita strips Tevaga to put the Sharks on attack.
Tracey kicks to the goal-line, where Nikorima dives on the ball and is dragged back over the line. Sharks are penalised, Johnson is marched 10 more metres for questioning the call.
Eighth minute: Johnson is flung to the ground by Tevaga, who also snags Williams on the next tackle. Katoa kicks towards the goal-line, but Jennings eventually picks up the loose ball.
Seventh minute: Fifita rumbles towards the posts, Brailey is held up over the goal-line, but Blair is offside and a set restart called.
Williams is called for knock-on at dummy half, but the captain's challenge shows he never lost the ball. Challenge successful.
Sixth minute: Sharks earn a set restart near halfway and are rolling upfield.
Murchie is penalised for rubbing Dugan's head into the ground in a tackle - dumb penalty.
Fifth minute: Warriors send the ball left, RTS finds Jennings with the line in sight, but he's bundled over the sideline on the first tackle - a bad mistake.
Third minute: Blair takes the ball within 10 metres of the line, Harris lunges towards the posts, Nikorima kicks for Murchie, but Mulitalo is on the spot and knocks on in the tackle near his own line.
Warriors have to score here.
Second minute: Mulitalo loses the ball in a three-man tackle and the Warriors have possession inside the Sharks half.
First minute: Cronulla kick off and Blair has the first hit-up of the second half.
Murchie reaches halfway on the last, Nikorima kicks deep and Kennedy is safe for the Sharks.
40th minute: Cronulla reach halfway as the halftime siren sounds.
39th minute: Blair runs the kick back strongly, Jenning is struggling in the backfield, as Harris crosses halfway.
37th minute: TRY to Murchie
Warriors win a restart and go deep into Sharks territory. RTS jinks through the defence and finds Murchie inside for the try.
Harris-Tavita converts with halftime in sight.
36th minute: Sharks reach halfway and Johnson kicks high, but Pompey takes it second time.
33rd minute: Katoa runs the kickoff back and is tipped in a tackle by Jennings for a relieving penalty.
Talakai wins another penalty in the Warriors half, when Blair knocks the ball free and Murchie gathers it from an offside position - that's a 5-1 count against the Warriors.
Johnson kicks the goal. Tevaga has passed his HIA.
31st minute: TRY to Mulitalo
Sharks send the ball left and Johnson puts a deft kick behind the line for Mulitalo to chase down and score. Officials are checking for a possible Dugan knock-on, but he makes no contact and the Warriors fall further behind.
That's another try assist for Johnson and he brings the conversion back through the posts.
29th minute: Johnson is smashed in a tackle by Harris Tavita, but the ball is deflected forward by the Warriors and Blair is tackled.
28th minute: Egan darts from dummy half and offloads to RTS, who is tackled on the last.
27th minute: Johnson bombs from halfway and Jennings lets it bounce before gathering it.
Warriors have a restart.
25th minute: Pompey makes good ground from the dropout and challenges the defence again later in the set.
Lawton runs from dummy half and earns a set restart. Harris-Tavita is dragged down centimetres short of the line - it's Johnson again - and loses the ball, but Cronulla can't secure it cleanly and take the scrum.
24th minute: Tevaga makes ground towards the posts and Harris-Tavita grubbers behind the line, where Katoa knocks the ball dead for a dropout.
Tevaga leaves for an HIA, Blair replaces him.
23rd minute: Rudolf spills the ball in a tackle and Warriors reach halfway immediately.
22nd minute: Sharks have a set restart and begin to roll upfield, but Woods loses the ball. Johnson uses his captain's challenge and wins - there's a Warriors knock-on there - so Sharks keep the ball.
21st minute: Taunoa-Brown spills the ball in a tackle and Johnson is on the spot again.
20th minute: Tevaga offloads, but finds Woods. Dugan spills a pass and Warriors have the ball back on halfway.
19th minute: Warriors keep Sharks inside their own half and Johnson kicks long on the last, Pompey runs it back.
18th minute: Perham is held down in a tackle, but can't draw a restart. Nikorima kicks right on the last and Murchie rises high, but is tackled for a handover.
17th minute: Sharks are hot on attack, but Hamlin-Uele spills a pass with the line within reach.
16th minute: Johnson kicks high towards Katoa's wing on the last, but George Jennings spills it forward for a Sharks scrum.
15th minute: Warriors try a short kickoff, but guess who's there to thwart that ploy - Johnson gives Sharks good attacking position.
13th minute: TRY to Katoa
Warriors defenders are up flat and Johnson spots that, kicking behind the line for Katoa to run onto and score untouched. Johnson leads the league with 21 try assists this season, Katoa is second highest tryscorer with 15.
Johnson leaves his conversion attempt to the right.
12th minute: Warriors making good ground and well into Sharks territory with tackles in hand.
Nikorima kicks towards the posts, but Johnson is underneath and stays in play, Sharks earn another clearing penalty.
11th minute: Tracey is dragged down just short of the try-line and Brailey's grubber eludes Woods' effort to force for a try.
10th minute: Nikorima puts up another high kick, but Mulitalo is equal to this one and the Sharks earn a clearing penalty.
Eighth minute: Easy metres up the middle, Katoa kicks the ball behind the goal-line and is taken out by RTS. Johnson is in hot pursuit, but can't catch the ball before it dribbles dead.
Ref waves off RTS' interference.
Seventh minute: Murchie accpts the dropout and the Warriors earn a restart. Harris straightens the attack and earns another restart, but Murchie spills the ball in a tackle.
Fifth minute: Nikorima puts Murchie through space, Harris-Tavia puts a kick through and Katoa is trapped behind the goal-line for a dropout.
Fourth minute: Sharks move the ball left, but Dugan is challenged by Pompey as he receives the pass and puts it down.
Third minute: Nikorima's kick on the last is allowed to bounce by Mulitalo, but Sharks tidy up and earn a clearing penalty.
Second minute: Johnson runs the ball on the last, but his pass is astray. Katoa is forced to kick high and RTS is safe underneath.
First minute: Warriors kick off and Sharks immediately earn a set restart.
Pre-game: Shaun Johnson has been named Sharks captain for this encounter, which is ironic on so many levels.
Remember, when Johnson left the Warriors, one of his complaints was that he wasn't trusted with a role on the team's leadership group. Now he's leading his new club against his old side.
For the Warriors, Tohu Harris was named at lock, but will take up a spot in the middle of the park, with Isaiah Papalii moving to the edge.
Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the NZ Warriors v Cronulla Sharks NRL showdown at Sydney's Jubilee Stadium.
Given their drama-filled run through this year's competition, it's amazing to think the Warriors still have a chance at NRL playoff footy - but they MUST win tonight.
They currently sit four points outside the top eight - Cronulla are eighth - but a win tonight would have them lurking just two points astray with two games remaining. The Sharks face a tough run home from here, with both last year's finalists Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders on the horizon.
But if they win tonight, Cronulla can seal their playoff spot and the Warriors' hopes are gone.
Of course, you can't mention a Warriors v Sharks encounter these days without worrying about the impact former Mt Smart hero Shaun Johnson will have for his new outfit against his old one.
Johnson return from several weeks on the sideline with a groin injury and Warriors fans will remember his animated celebration when he scored a try against his former teammates in a 46-10 Round 10 annihilation, described by Warriors coach Todd Payten as their worst performance of the season.
Since then, they have turned their season around and may even enter this game as slight favourites.
Cronulla will be without kingpin Wade Graham and half Chad Townsend through suspension, after their loss to Newcastle Knights last week.
TAB: Cronulla Sharks $1.63, NZ Warriors $2.23
Rookie Perham relishing Warriors opportunities
NZ Warriors utility Hayze Perham is relishing his time in the starting side, even though he's playing out of his natural position.
Perham is one of the most talented players in the Warriors system, but a logjam of outside backs and halves means opportunities have been limited, since making his debut against Melbourne Storm last year, with both his 2019 appearances coming off the bench.
This year, Perham has started four games in the centres, including the last three, and he's set to make another appearance there in Sunday's must-win clash against Cronulla Sharks.
While centre is not Perham's preferred position, the Taupō 21-year-old is enjoying his time in the Warriors starting side and is trying to make the most of his opportunity.
"I come into every week eager to try to fight for a position in the team," he says. "Every week I'm wondering if I'll retain my spot, so to see my name on the team sheet energises me.
"Getting chosen week after week is a confidence-builder. It says I'm doing alright out there and doing my job.
"I had a couple of games [at centre] in the NSW Cup, but I like to think of myself being as versatile as I can be, so I can slot into anywhere I'm needed."
The Warriors are in must-win mode for the remainder of the season and a loss to the Sharks will end their hopes of finishing inside the top eight and competing for the NRL title.
A win means they'd close the gap on the Sharks to two points with two games remaining.
Less than two months ago, they lost 46-10 to Cronulla, a performance interim coach Todd Payten described as their worst of the season.
"All the boys know that, from here on, it is a must-win situation," says Perham. "The boys know the situation we're in, so we're willing to put everything in.
"My hopes are to help the team into the eight and it comes with my performing to the best of my ability. Hopefully, all those things intertwine with each other and good things from that."
Warriors forward Isaiah Papalii is determined to write the wrongs from their previous humiliating defeat.
"We want to redeem ourselves from our last game against the Sharks," he says. "The boys are more excited for the challenge against a side that beat us last time.
"They're very skilful as a team and we took our learnings from it. We were building towards something as a team under 'Toddy'.
"Any loss isn't a good one, but we started to understand the way each other defended and started to click from that game on."
More to come