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George Clarke

Sharks race away from spirited Tigers for 36-12 NRL win

Nicho Hynes on his way to scoring a try in Cronulla's 36-12 win over Wests Tigers. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Tim Sheens has refused to blame a controversial bunker call for contributing to Wests Tigers' spirited 36-12 NRL loss to Cronulla which condemned the struggling club to a fifth straight defeat.

Thursday night's win before a crowd of 9215 at CommBank Stadium moves Cronulla to second on the ladder, level with Penrith but behind the premiers on points differential.

The Tigers, who were much improved from last week's 74-0 loss to North Queensland, were left to bemoan a game that got away from them on the back of a no-try call in the second half.

With his side trailing 18-12, Tigers centre Tommy Talau thought he had scored his second try of the night and got his team back into the contest.

Talau climbed above Nicho Hynes to claim a kick and touch down in the 55th minute.

The bunker saw things differently, ruling that the Tigers centre had knocked the ball on into the Sharks No. 7 as he attempted to make the catch.

That decision knocked the wind out of the Tigers' sails, with Cronulla putting on four tries in the final 25 minutes to give the scoreboard a favourable slant.

But Sheens wouldn't attribute the Talau decision as the catalyst for another heavy loss.

"It was a tough call," Sheens said.

Tommy Talau scores for Wests Tigers in their 36-12 NRL loss to Cronulla. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

"The little things just didn't work for us tonight. They're a good team, Cronulla, and they'll know they've been in a game tonight.

"Coming off what happened last week, I think we showed that there's plenty of spirit in the boys."

Winger Sione Katoa and wrecking ball centre Siosifa Talakai gave Cronulla an early advantage but the Tigers ground their way back into the game to make it 12-12 at halftime courtesy of Talau and Shawn Blore.

"Both tries were poor defensive reads," said Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon, whose side were opened up far too easily on the goal-line.

"I thought we defended strongly but two simple lapses was frustrating."

Despite a try to Katoa early into the second half the Tigers kept on Cronulla's tails until Talau's second try effort was ruled out.

After that let-off, Cronulla marched down the other end and Jesse Ramien was able to catch a bomb to the in-goal to give the Sharks a more comfortable buffer.

Talakai added a second, Hynes coasted in on a long-range break and Katoa grabbed his hat-trick at the death to wrap things up for the men from the Shire.

Fitzgibbon is refusing to get carried away with his side's rise up the ladder ahead of a tough trip to face the Warriors in Auckland next week.

"We have just got to keep playing better, we feel like we're improving in parts that have let us down previously," Fitzgibbon said. "We've still got a bit to do."

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