Early season pace setters the Paramatta Eels found themselves in third place in the table with an outside shot at second as they took on an eighth placed Cronulla Sharks, themselves looking for a ladder improvement to fifth place.
There was just one change for the favourites, the Eels, as Ray Stone replaced Takairangi. John Morris made four changes to his Sharks side with Ramien, Dugan, Moylan and Sorensen all in the seventeen man side.
Both sides had four win in their last five outings and the Sharks came into the game on the back of a three game running streak against the Broncos, Dragons and Warriors while the Eels had been the victors in their last two against the Bulldogs and the Tigers.
The game started in torrential rain and on a saturated pitch, the conditions would play a big part in the game. Both sides found it tough to come to terms with the conditions, employing the kicking game with a slippy ball proving difficult to handle.
There was just under twenty on the clock when the Eels broke the deadlock. Dylan Brown went from acting half-back after throwing a massive dummy left to push off the tackle of Sorensen and go in from three metres. Mitchell Moses added the conversion to put the Eels 6-0 ahead.
On twenty-six Jesse Ramien won the foot race and got his hand on a Shaun Johnson grubber which had held up in a puddle in goal. Johnson missed the conversion, the Sharks trailing by two.
There was just two points separating the sides as they went into the sheds, the conditions making it very difficult for either side to score as it was almost impossible to move the ball through hands.
Five minutes after the restart the Eels were in for their second when Kane Evans took a Dylan Brown pass after the half back had thrown a cheeky dummy and switched the play inside. Moses added the conversion for 12-4.
The Sharks were back in it on fifty-three as Ronaldo Mulitalo juggled the pass, caught it, and grounded by the right cornerflag as he was hit by Clinton Gutherson making a last-ditch tackle. Johnson hit the upright from the touchline, the Sharks back within four.
Three minutes later Mulitalo went over for his second after a Johnson 40-20. The big winger went between three defenders and slid over on his back to ground. Johnson squirted his kick wide of the right upright but the two sides were all tied up at 12-12. And the rain continued with just over twenty minutes on the clock.
The Eels won a scrum against the head on sixty-nine and as they pushed for the line there was an off the ball tackle which resulted in a penalty, Moses kicking the two to put Paramatta back into the lead, an advantage that they would hold until the final hooter.
The conditions made a nonsense of the game as the rain fell onto a pitch which was already heavily waterlogged. The ball was like a bar of soap, and impossible to handle and the kicking game was king. The game could have gone either way and with the Sharks having outscored the Eels by three tries to two they will count themselves unlucky to have lost the game. The Eels cemented their place in the top four, the Sharks in eighth, in a match which both sides will be happy to forget.
Cronulla Sharks: Kennedy, Katoa, Dugan, Ramien (T), Mulitalo (2T), Moylan, Johnson, Hamlin-Uele, Brailey, Woods, Talakai, Graham, Sorensen. Subs: Rudolf, Tracey, Wilton, Hunt.
Paramatta Eels: Gutherson, Sivo, Jennings, Blake, Ferguson, Brown (T), Moses (3G), Campbell-Gillard, Mahoney, Paulo, Lane, Niukore, Brown. Subs: Davey, Stone, Evans (T), Kaufusi.
Referee: Ben Cummins.
Ground: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney.