In a disappointing result the Sharks have fallen to their seventh defeat of 2014 in going down by 42-24 to the Parramatta Eels.
It was a match where the Sharks were more than competitive for long periods, errors and a lack of discipline let them down at crucial stages, with the Eels only too happy to take advantage of the opportunities provided too them.
The loss leaves the Sharks anchored towards the bottom of the NRL ladder after nine rounds, with a string of wins desperately needed over the coming weeks if they are to stay in contention for a top eight berth.
It was a rocky beginning for the Sharks, an error from the kickoff, then a second mistake in their opening set of six allowed the Eels to attack deep in Cronulla territory, with the Eels capitalizing, Semi Radradra crashing over out wide for first points.
Chris Sandow was wide with his conversion but the Eels had made the best possible start at 4-0 up.
The Eels lead however would be short-lived, an handling error by the home team giving the Sharks an opportunity a short time later and their reply was swift.
In a sweeping backline move a Michael Gordon cut off pass found Sosaia Feki in space, the big winger brushing aside Jarrod Hayne’s attempted tackle to touch down wide out.
Gordon was on target with his conversion from near touch and the Sharks had a 6-4 lead.
On the back of some concerted pressure the Sharks were in again, this time it was as a result of some great skill by Wade Graham, the backrower dribbling the ball forward off his feet im chasing down a Jeff Robson grubber, before collecting the ball and planting it down.
Gordon added the extras from close range and the Sharks were in front by eight.
The Eels responded, with the next points coming from some individual brilliance, this time from the Eels, Hayne creating a line break down the left edge, before backing up, beating a handful of defenders and touching down next to the posts.
Sandow was successful with the kick, bringing his team within two at 12-10 behind.
After three sets at the Sharks line in the next period of the game the Eels were denied by the video referee, but shortly after their pressure told, a Sandow kick bounced wickedly for Gordon, with the Eels half re-gathering to score.
Sandow was in the game again soon after, a 40-20 putting his team deep into attack and it only took two tackles for them to add to their score, Ken Sio diving over to extend his teams’ lead.
It was that man Sandow again with the conversion a wide angle and the Eels were ahead 22-12 with seven minutes of the first half still to go.
The second half began with another Eels try, this time to Will Hopoate which put them further in front, before some inspirational play from skipper Paul Gallen gave the Sharks some hope after a blockbusting run, then an off-load to Isaac De Gois resulting in a Cronulla four-pointer
Gordon kicked his third goal to make it 28-18 with over 20 minutes of the match remaining, but the Sharks, as they had done all night, as soon as they looked like making a game of it an error invited their opponents back into the game, with a try to Willie Tonga from a 90-metre intercept and the game was as good as over.
A clever exchange of passes from the Sharks put Gordon over under the uprights but that would be as close as the Cronulla side would get, a second try to Sio, followed by a another to Hayne and the Eels had secured what in the end appeared on the scoreboard at least to be a comprehensive victory.
Making matters worse for the Sharks, after being injured in the first half Andrew Fifita was taken straight to Westmead Hospital for x-rays and scans on an ankle injury. The extent of the injury should be known tomorrow.
Despite the final scoreline there were a number solid performers, none better than Gallen who led form the front in an effort to lift his team, Graham had some good moments and David Fifita, taking over from his injured brother, took the ball forward strongly in a beaten cause.
The Sharks now have a short turnaround until their next assignment which is against the Wests Tigers at Remondis Stadium on Saturday night.
Sosaia Feki, Wade Graham, Isaac De Gois, Michael Gordon tries, Gordon 4 goals
Ken Sio 2, Jarrod Hayne 2, Semi Radradra, Will Hopoate, Chris Sandow, Willie Tonga tries, Sandow 5 goals
Crowd – 12, 541
Minute by minute scoring
3 mins – Eels 4-0 – Radradra try
9 mins – Sharks 6-4 – Feki try, Gordon goal
19 mins – Sharks 12-4 – Graham try, Gordon goal
21 mins – Sharks 12-10 – Hayne try, Sandow goal
29 mins – Eels 16-12 – Sandow try, Sandow goal
33 mins – Eels 22-12 – Sio try, Sandow goal
49 mins - Eels 28-12 – Hopoate try, Sandow goal
57 mins – Eels 28 -18 – De Gois try, Gordon goal
64 mins - Eels 34-18 – Tonga try, Sandow goal
68 mins – Eels 34-24 - Gordon try, Gordon goal
71 mins – Eels 38-24 – Sio try
77 mins – Eels 42-24 - Hayne try