NRL: Sharks thrash Roosters 37-12

Jayson Bukuya of the Sharks is tackled by Roosters players at Shark Park in Sydney last night. Photo / Getty Images
Jayson Bukuya of the Sharks is tackled by Roosters players at Shark Park in Sydney last night. Photo / Getty Images

Cronulla have re-ignited hopes of a maiden NRL premiership with a resounding 37-12 home win over the Sydney Roosters.

Down 12-0 after just 20 minutes, the Sharks scored 37 unanswered points on Saturday night to snap their four-game winless streak in style and remain in contention for the minor premiership.

In a grandstand finish to the regular season, Cronulla face off against ladder leaders Melbourne in a top-of-the-table clash next Saturday at AAMI Stadium for the right to lift the JJ Giltinan Shield.

A crowd of 14,457 fans farewelled retiring hooker Michael Ennis at Southern Cross Group Stadium, which was lit up by a timely second-half onslaught from its team.

Fullback Ben Barba scored a try and set up another in a strong performance, while skipper Paul Gallen also crossed the line and came through unscathed in his 60-minute return from a calf injury.

Ennis capped off the performance with a penalty goal late in the match.

The Roosters' loss ended their mini late-season resurgence, and was compounded by an ACL injury to forward Sio Siua Taukeihaho in just the second minute of the match.

Despite the early injury setback, the Roosters stunned the hosts through tries to Connor Watson and Latrell Mitchell inside the opening quarter of the game.

However, an opportunistic Matt Prior pulled one back for Cronulla in the 25th minute before Barba levelled the game in similar fashion with a cutting run to score in the 37th minute.

James Maloney then wobbled over a 35-metre field goal on the last play of the first half to give his team an unlikely 13-12 lead.

From there, it was all the Sharks, with Gerard Beale, Jayson Bukuya and Valentine Holmes all making the most of a 26-5 advantage in red zone plays to canter to their 17th win of the year.

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