Cronulla extended their NRL winning streak to five with a thrilling victory over a brave Penrith side last night in Sydney.

In a high quality affair in front of a crowd of 14,273, Jamie Soward missed a sideline conversion in the 77th minute that could've sent the game to golden point.

But his kick sailed just wide, giving the Panthers their third two-point loss of the season.

It was a tough performance from a Penrith side that played the final 45 minutes with 15 men after losing Waqa Blake and Te Maire Martin to injuries in the first half. Martin could be out for a while with the club confirming via Twitter that he has a fractured shoulder.


Valentine Holmes appeared to have secured the win for the Sharks when he palmed off Soward to race 70 metres for the go-ahead try in the 73rd minute, breaking a 14-14 deadlock.

But the Panthers, whose every game this year has gone down to the final five minutes, almost forced the extra period when James Fisher-Harris crashed over minutes before fulltime.

However, the Sharks held on to consolidate their spot in the top four.

It was a cracking game at Southern Cross Group Stadium that could've gone either way.

The flashpoint came in a 12-point turnaround in the space of two minutes midway through the second half, when the bunker denied the Sharks at one end and then awarded one to Penrith at the other.

With his team down 10-8, Chad Townsend looked to have regained the lead when he chased down a Jack Bird grubber, only to be ruled just offside on the kick.

One set later, Fisher-Harris cannoned over after a 40-metre movement that he began with an offload, and included a flick pass from Bryce Cartwright. But the Sharks hit back with back-to-back long-range tries to set up the win.

Sharks 20 (M. Ennis, V. Holmes, J. Maloney tries; Maloney 4 goals)

Panthers 18 (J. Fisher-Harris 2, M. Moylan, I. Yeo tries; J Soward goal).