Cronulla Sharks set NRL's top eight in stone after beating Warriors

The NRL's top eight is set after Toby Rudolf landed the final dagger in the Warriors' season and sent Cronulla to the finals with a thrilling 22-14 win at Kogarah.

Just two months after going back on a deal to move to the Warriors on a three-year contract to stay at Cronulla for personal reasons, Rudolf inflicted an even bigger pain on the club on Sunday night.

With the Sharks down 14-12 and six minutes to play after an almighty Warriors fightback, the Cronulla prop busted through three to charge over and give his side a vital lead.

The game was then settled moments later when Ronaldo Mulitalo got his second of the night on the left wing, sealing the Sharks' sixth straight finals appearance.

Former Warrior Shaun Johnson also starred in the win, playing a crucial role in both attack and defence.

It leaves Cronulla six points clear of the chasing pack, with the race for the top four now the only battle still alive headed into the final four rounds.

It also ended one of the great fairytales of the NRL era, with the Warriors having defied their COVID-19 struggles to remain a hope of playing finals football.

And they didn't go down without a fight.

After Johnson set up the first two tries with grubbers for Sione Katoa and Mulitalo to set up a 12-0 lead, the Warriors looked gone.

But fellow Kiwi star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Peta Hiku helped inspire the comeback, with the former beginning it with some magic just before the break.

The former Dally M medallist stepped his way through the line and offloaded for Jack Murchie to make it 12-6 at the break.

They suddenly had it back to 12-12 in the second half when Peta Hiku danced across field and flicked the ball out the back for Adam Pompey.

And the lead was theirs when Chanel Harris-Tavita kicked them two clear after Briton Nikora was pinged for a dangerous tackle.

But that was before Rudolf's late try that broke the Warriors' hearts and left the NRL's top eight set in stone with only seedings left to play for.