Sharks dominate the derby to defeat Dragons 22-9 at WIN Stadium

In the derby, it's not about who is going to win the NRL premiership it's just about about winning the one game that counts.

The one that counted this week was won by the Sharks in a tough encounter that left the Dragons with five loses in a row.

Cronulla went into the game with a decided disadvantage only having won once in 13 starts at Wollongong's WIN Stadium.

That win was way back in 2013 but the Sharks broke that hoodoo and in doing so gave Dragons coach Paul McGregor a major headache.

McGregor's side have not won since Round 6 and their season has suffered with injuries mounting in recent weeks.

The weekend was all about Origin selection and celebrating the Indigenous round but that wasn't a concern for Sharks and Dragons fans who just wanted bragging rights for their team.

For the Dragons,Tyson Frizell, Paul Vaughn and Ben Hunt had one last chance to show selectors what value they would have for their states while Cronulla had the ageing Origin bolter Josh Morris in contention.

Cronulla coach John Morris threw Matt Moylan straight back into the fullback position.

Moylan has been missing since injuring his hamstring in round three in a Sharks victory over the Cowboys in Townsville.

Moylan's return meant Josh Dugan moved into the outside backs where he shared the wing-centre position with youngster Bronson Xerri.

Moylan said he was excited to be back but "It was good to watch all the young guys who had debuted".

Josh Dugan of the Sharks is taken off after colliding with Tyson Frizell of the Dragons during the Round 11 NRL match Picture AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Josh Dugan of the Sharks is taken off after colliding with Tyson Frizell of the Dragons during the Round 11 NRL match Picture AAP Image/Dean Lewins

The Dragons got first points on the board through a 4th minute penalty but it was the hands of Moylan who passed superbly to Dugan who offloaded to Xerri that got the scoreboard ticking over after Dragons prop James Graham spilled the ball.

A tense struggle then saw the Dragons running constantly at Kyle Flanagan in defense making Nikora do some extra work with Dragons Tim Lafai left with an ankle injury and off the park for the game.

With penalties running 6-1 to the Dragons the pressure built and a short drop kick by the Sharks backfired and Cameron McInnes scored next to the posts on his 100th game for a 8-6 lead.

A savage head clash between Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell saw both experienced players left bloodied and bruised on the turf and resulted in both players being taken from the field.

A bizarre chance for Cronulla with the line wide open saw Sosaia Feki put his foot on the sideline after brilliant inside work by Moylan but another lost ball and a Sharks penalty left the score at 8-8 until a last second field goal saw the Dragons go in to the sheds with a one point lead.

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen said it was a tough half but they got a few lucky penalties,and Dragons Ben Hunt said they were up for more of the same and they got lucky with Feki running out wide.

The Dragons dominated possession in the first half but the Sharks looked more likely to score with Dragons enforcer James Graham also not making a second half appearance.

A smart play by the Sharks saw Xerri cross the line for his second try just after the half with a brave second tackle kick by Flanagan and a brilliant chase by Kurt Capewell.

Cronulla was all attack in the second half hitting the line several times but couldn't get over leaving St George Illawarra in the game until a hat trick by Xerri put the Sharks ahead again.

Flanagan couldn't convert but the excellent work getting the ball out on their last tackle and slick Moylan hands saw the excitement machine slide over for a 16-9 lead.

The Dragons kept their heads up but with 5 minutes to go they had to score twice and it looked to be slipping away and looking at 5 loses in a row.

Cronulla always looked like they had more points in them and after Paul Gallen had played 65 mins in a great contest Blayke Brailey scored under the posts in the last minute for a Sharks victory 22-9 with some big names to still come back into the team after the bye.

Try scorer Bronson Xerri said it was good to get the points and they knew what they wanted to do.

"I'm a Cronulla junior so it's an honour to play at the top level, it's also unreal to play next to Matt Moylan."