The struggles continued for an injury plagued Sharks outfit when they slumped to their fourth consecutive defeat in going down by 30-0 to the Newcastle Knights.
On a day where they paid tribute to injured teammate Alex McKinnon the Knights showed greater enthusiasm and better ball control in racing to a 26-0 half time lead before going on with the job in the second 40 minutes.
It was again a disappointing result for the Sharks who lost fullback Michael Gordon midway through the second half with a knee injury, while Andrew Fifita needed treatment to a wrist problem to add to the teams’ injury woes.
A quick tap following a Darius Boyd catch in goal from a Sharks attacking kick which had his team on the front foot and with the Cronulla team still retreating Joey Leilua strolled through to post the wide out.
The conversion attempt was wide but the Knights had an early 4-0 lead.
It was down the Sharks right hand side where the Knights would make the Cronulla Sharks pay for a second time not long after, on this occasion a clever short pass put Robbie Rochow into space and the big back rower ran 20 metres to touch down under the posts.
The kick at goal was good and the Knights had jumped to the front 10-0 just 13 minutes into the game.
A penalty for a late hit by Sam Tagataese helped the Knights back into Sharks territory and again it was weak defending on the right hand side which allowed Leilua to reach out and score his second.
Again the kick from wide was off target but the Sharks were facing a 14-0 deficit with less than 20 minutes of the match having elapsed.
Things got even worse for the Sharks not long after and once more it was Leilua, the big centre showing great strength to get the ball down despite the attention of three Sharks defenders. Then in further extending his teams lead Darius Boyd crossed on the stroke of half time to send the teams to the break with the Knights leading by a commanding 26-0.
It was a case of too much possession, with the Knights having 65 percent of the football and a 6-1 advantage in the penalties in the first half that made life too difficult for the Sharks in the first 40.
To their credit the Sharks while not being able to work their way back into the match did at least show some pride in the second period and it took the Knights 32 minutes to add to their half time lead.
Once more it was down the Sharks defensive right hand side and this time it was Roberts streaking away to score from 30-metres out. He missed with the conversion of his own try but the game was well out of reach at 30-0 Knights.
While a number of the Sharks tried hard it was near impossible to stem the flow against them, however if singling players out Tinirau Arona ran hard in the middle, hooker John Morris worked hard in defense and until injured Gordon at the back brought the ball back from kicks with plenty of gusto and defused a number of sticky situations.
As for the Gordon injury, medical staff were hopeful it wasn’t too serious and he will be assessed during the week as to the severity of the problem.
The loss sees the Sharks anchored to the bottom of the competition ladder with a game against the Warriors next on the schedule at home on Saturday.
Joey Leilua 3, Darius Boyd, Robbie Rochow, Tyrone Roberts tries, Roberts 3 goals
Minute by minute scoring
8 mins – Knights 4-0 - Leilua try
13 mins – Knights 10-0 – Rochow try, Roberts goal
17 mins – Knights 14-0 – Leilua try
33 mins – Knights 20-0 – Leilua try, Roberts goal
39 mins – Knights 26-0 – Boyd try, Robert goal
71 mins – Knights 30-0 - Roberts try
Crowd – 18, 116