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