A Sharks side missing a number of their regulars have been soundly beaten by the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium
With a side decimated by injury and suspension the Sharks have proved to be no match for the Bulldogs in going down by 42-4 in Monday night football.
Missing up to eight regular first graders the Sharks were always going to be up against it and that’s how it panned out against a Bulldogs side which ran in seven tries on the night.
The Sharks trailed 24-0 at the break and the second half told a similar story, with the Cronulla side having no joy in crossing the tryline until a Jonathan Wright try in the 80th minute broke their duck.
The first two tries to the Bulldogs came about as much by good fortune as they did from stellar play, with the first from a rebound after a cross field kick, the second when Sharks fullback Michael Gordon got a wicked bounce from a Michael Ennis grubber kick.
Trent Hodkinson kicked both conversions and 23 minutes into the match the Bulldogs led 12-0.
It took them just five more minutes to add to their advantage, this time it was Josh Reynolds off loading a clever short ball for Chase Stanley to crash over. Again Hodkinson added the extras and the Sharks trailed 18-0.
Stanley went over for a second after some brilliant lead up work from Hodkinson and after the halfback also converted, the Sharks faced an ugly 24-0 deficit at the half time break.
Hodkinson rather than setting them up managed to get across for one of his own, on the back of a Tony Williams charge to make it 30-0, before rookie Corey Thompson scored wide out to add further misery to the Sharks with still 20 minutes of the match remaining.
Josh Morris added a try to the Bulldogs at the 70th minute mark, again converted from wide out by Hodkinson and it was getting ugly for the Cronulla team at 42-0 down.
The lone bright spot for the Sharks took until the final minute of the match when Wright ran onto a long cut out pass and dived over in the corner.
It was a touch initiation for the three Sharks debutants in Penani Manumalealii, David Fifita and Michael Lichaa, with all trying hard in the losing effort.
Fifita was perhaps the most impressive of the trio, running hard and doing his best to lift the team.
The Sharks now have just five days to try to regroup ahead of the local derby against St George Illawarra on Saturday night.
Jonathan Wright try
Chase Stanley 2, Josh Morris, Corey Thompson, Trent Hodkinson, Frank Pritchard, Michael Ennis tries, Trent Hodkinson 7 goals