Michael Gordon tackled by Konrad Hurrell.Sharks v Warriors. NRL rugby league match. Remondis Stadium, Sydney Australia. Saturday 5 April 2013. Photo: Paul Seiser/Photosport.co.nz

NRL | Shattering defeat

The Vodafone Warriors couldn’t build on the momentum of two successive wins as they slumped to a devastating 6-37 loss to the previously winless Cronulla at Remondis Stadium on Saturday.

The Sharks dominated every facet of the game to put an end to their run of four defeats this season.

The Vodafone Warriors, though, were the architects of their own demise with a display which was even more disappointing than the corresponding match last year when they lost 4-28.

The tone of the afternoon was evident from the outset as the Vodafone Warriors were clearly well off the standards they’d risen to in the previous two weeks.

By the end of the game the Sharks had completed 34 sets, the Vodafone Warriors a mere 16 ensuring the tackle count was just as lopsided with the Vodafone Warriors making close to 112 more tackles than Cronulla.

The sole redeeming feature was managing the last try of the day through Manu Vatuvei to avoid the humiliation of failing to score a point.

Cronulla dominated the first half to lead 16-0 at halftime. The Vodafone Warriors had limited possession in the first quarter as they were found guilty of too many indiscretions, the Sharks receiving four early penalties.

Cronulla profited with early tries to winger Nathan Stapleton and back rower Tinirau Arona.

For the first the Sharks hit their right, the Vodafone Warriors' defensive line jammed in and Todd Carney flung out a pinpoint long pass for an unmarked Stapleton to score. Arona was able to get across between the posts for a try which had an element of doubt about it but was awarded quickly by the video referees on referral.

A score-line of 10-0 was concerning but causing greater anxiety were the penalties conceded and the error count. They meant the Vodafone Warriors were unable to develop any rhythm and simply couldn't find their way into the contest.

When they made another error in the 25th minute a Cronulla try was highly likely and duly arrived as the massive Sam Tagataese powered through, Michael Gordon converting and the home side out to a 16-0 lead.

The Vodafone Warriors tried to settle into the grind and began to make some progress, finally having a taste of life in Cronulla's defensive zone but they couldn't find a try before the break.

Spending halftime in the dressing room wouldn’t have been comfortable for the Vodafone Warriors as they tried to come to terms with their opening 40 minutes.

The stats reinforced how far out of the contest they were. They’d completed only 11 sets, the Sharks 21 as well as making eight errors and conceding seven penalties. The defensive workload was underlined by Nathan Friend’s effort of 42 tackles by the break.

Any hope of a second half revival was dashed as more errors helped Cronulla to three tries inside the first 17 minutes to take an insurmountable 30-0 lead. Carney threw in a cheeky field goal and Stapleton became the second player in successive weeks to score four tries.

There was time left only for the Vodafone Warriors to avoid being held scoreless. It did nothing to ease the pain of a grim day for the team.

No one worked harder than hooker Nathan Friend who made 63 tackles, an inevitable outcome in a game when the Vodafone Warriors had so little ball. Indeed the Sharks had 44 sets in the game and a total of 201 runs, the Vodafone Warriors only 29 sets and 130 runs; Cronulla made eight line breaks to just one and they gained almost 2000 metres, the Vodafone Warriors just 1200.

Today they return home and begin the task of preparing for next Sunday’s third home game of the season against Canterbury-Bankstown at Eden Park (4.00pm kick-off). With their 9-8 win over the Sydney Roosters on Friday night, the Bulldogs are on top of the table – temporarily at least – with six points.

Match details:

At Remondis Stadium, Cronulla

Cronulla Sharks 37 (Nathan Stapleton 4, Tinirau Arona, Sam Tagataese, Blake Ayshford tries; Michael Gordon 4 conversions; Todd Carney field goal).

Vodafone Warriors 6 (Manu Vatuvei try; Shaun Johnson conversion).

Halftime: 16-0 Sharks.

Referees: Gavin Morris and Gavin Reynolds

Crowd: 11,307.

Vodafone Warriors: Sam Tomkins; Glen Fisiiahi, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei; Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson; Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino; Jayson Bukuya, Simon Mannering (c); Feleti Mateo. Interchange: Jacob Lillyman, Suaia Matagi, Thomas Leuluai, Sebastine Ikahihifo..

Match details:

At Remondis Stadium, Cronulla

Cronulla Sharks 16 (Nathan Stapleton, Tinirau Arona, Sam Tagataese tries; Michael Gordon 2 conversions).

Vodafone Warriors 0.

Referees: Gavin Morris and Gavin Reynolds.

Match details:

At Remondis Stadium, Cronulla

Cronulla Sharks 16 (Nathan Stapleton, Tinirau Arona, Sam Tagataese tries; Michael Gordon 2 conversions).

Vodafone Warriors 0.

Referees: Gavin Morris and Gavin Reynolds.