Celebrations recognizing the 300-game career of hooker John Morris have been overshadowed by another disappointing loss by the Sharks, this time at the hands of the Souths Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Sharks tried hard but had no answers to the defensive pressure of their opponents, eventually going down by 18-0 to the visiting Souths side.
The first 20 or so minutes gave no indication the final score line would be as lopsided as it was when it was the Sharks who looked to have opened the scoring in the 20th minute.
Bryce Gibbs won the race to a bouncing grubber kick however the excitement of his first try was taken away when the decision from the video referee came back ruling the prop had been in front of the kicker.
From the ensuing set of six Souths marched downfield and a Sharks error gifted them possession inside the attacking zone. Just a couple of tackles later the Rabbits would capitalize, Sam Burgess storming through some poor goal line defense to touch down wide out.
Adam Reynolds added the extras and the visitors led 6-0.
The teams battled away for the next 15 minutes with no reward and this time it was Souths who were turned down by the video ref.
In a bizarre sequence of play Jeff Robson put in a cross-field kick, it was batted down by Sosaia Feki, only to be claimed by his opposite Alex Johnston, the Souths winger collecting the ball and racing 100 metres to score what looked like a fair try at the other end.
After a series of reviews however it was ruled Johnston had got a touch to the ball before picking it up and scooting away, with the try disallowed.
The only other score in the first period was through a penalty goal to Reynolds and Souths would take an 8-0 lead into the break.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with neither side able to break through what were well-organised defensive lines but after 15 minutes it was the Sharks who would crack, a long range four pointer to centre Kirisome Auva’a taking their lead out to 12.
And that lead would be extended not long after, Bunnies hooker Cameron McInnes exposing some weak marker defense to dive over under the uprights.
With the Reynolds conversion is was 18-0 Souths with time running out on the Sharks.
As hard as they might try in the final few minutes of the match the Sharks couldn’t breach their opponents line, with Souths holding the Cronulla side scoreless for the first time ever in matches played between the two teams.
The effort was certainly there for the Sharks with captain Wade Graham, lock Chris Heighington and interchange hooker Isaac De Gois doing their best to lift their side but to no avail.
The Sharks now have the bye ahead of a local derby clash with St George Illawarra down at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on June 7.
Sam Burgess, Kirisome Auva’a, Cameron McInnes tries, Adam Reynolds 3 goals
Minute by minute scoring
21 mins – Souths 6-0 – Sam Burgess try, Reynolds goal
38 mins – Souths 8-0 – Reynolds goal
55 mins – Souths 12-0 – Auva’a try
62 mins – Souths 18-0 - McInnes try, Reynolds goal