The talented centre gave the Sharks their first lead 10 minutes from full-time as the Warriors, without chief playmaker Shaun Johnson, lacked the execution needed to maintain their lead when momentum swung late.
to Konrad Hurrell and Simon Mannering gave the Warriors a 10-0
half-time lead, which quickly evaporated due to a stunning second-half
double by star Sharks winger Valentine Holmes.
Locked at 12-12
just 14 minutes from full-time, the home side regained the lead through a
Tuimoala Lolohea penalty, only for Leutele to crash over in the left
corner moments later.
One final chance presented itself for the
Warriors with just seconds left on the clock but captain Mannering was
ruled to have knocked on before Lolohea picked up the loose ball to dive
over the line.
The Sharks, missing stood down prop Andrew Fifita,
toiled in the middle but it was an uphill battle early as the likes of
Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman and Albert Vete asserted their dominance.
one-way traffic continued for most of the first half but Warriors coach
Andrew McFadden would have hoped for more than just four points on the
board after 37 minutes, having enjoyed 70 per cent of possession.
Townsend showed the skills he will bring back to the Sharks in 2016,
kicking high to set up the opening try to Hurrell, who cleaned up after
winger Manu Vatuvei batted the ball back.
The Sharks' defence held firm as half-back Jeff Robson cut down every
charging run sent his way, with the Warriors looking to use Matulino in
his new second-row position on the right edge.
the flow for both sides but field position proved key as the Warriors
eventually extended their lead three minutes from half-time as Mannering
grounded a Siliva Havili grubber for his first try of the season.
the break, the Sharks hit back almost immediately as Sam Tagataese
brushed aside Raymond Faitala-Mariner to set up Holmes in the right
The winger then doubled his tally when put into space by a
deft Gerard Beale offload. Streaking down the right flank, Holmes
chipped over Sam Tomkins then regathered to score to level the scores a
The Sharks looked to have taken their first lead of the
game in the 58th minute when Tagataese barged over, only for replays to
reveal an obstruction during the build-up.
Lolohea calmly regained the lead with his his second penalty goal but it was shortlived as Leutele beat Solomone Kata to score.
a perfect day with the boot, Michael Gordon added the extras with a
clutch sideline conversion to see the Sharks home by four.