SYDNEY (AP) — The Cronulla Sharks led 18-2 at halftime then withstood a second-half comeback attempt by Penrith to edge the Panthers 21-20 and advance to the National Rugby League semifinals on Friday.

The Sharks will play the Melbourne Storm next Friday, with the winner advancing to the NRL championship match.

Cronulla needed a field goal from halfback Chad Townsend with five minutes remaining to break a 20-20 deadlock.

The Sydney Roosters, already through to the semifinals, await the winner of Saturday's second-round playoff match between South Sydney and St. George Illawarra. That match is scheduled for Sept. 22.

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The grand final is set for Sept. 30 at the Olympic stadium in Sydney.

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