Just when they appeared to be back on track after a big win against Manly the previous week the season of inconsistency continues for the NSW Cup Sharks who have been beaten 37-24 in a scrappy affair at Henson Park.
The Sharks were their own worst enemies, numerous handling errors contributing to their down fall, with the Bulldogs, who sit well outside the top eight, too good on the day.
The teams traded tries early and after two Nathan Gardner four pointers, both converted by Nathan Stapleton, and after 20 minutes the Sharks were ahead 12-10.
From there the rest of the first half would have disappointed coach Tony Herman, with mistakes and ordinary defense allowing the Bulldogs to establish a 24-12 half time advantage.
The Canterbury side extended their lead to 30-12 with an early second half try, before the Sharks finally woke from their slumber, a third try form Gardner,the fullback running 75 metres after cleaning up a Bulldogs bomb, giving them hope of a comeback similar to their NRL counterparts the night before.
Pat Politoni crossed shortly after, backing up a Tim Robinson line break, with Stapleton adding the extras, and it was game on with plenty of time still left on the clock.
Despite creating a number of opportunities the Sharks couldn’t bridge the gap, with a Bulldogs field goal, followed by a 77th minute try under the uprights, securing the result for the Canterbury side.
After trouncing Manly to the tune of 48-14 the week prior, it will be back to the drawing board for Herman who will be looking for the formula that can produce more consistent effort from his NSW Cup squad.
On a positive note, Gardner was rewarded for his wholehearted performance dangerous at the back with three tries, while Blake Ayshford ran freely on the right hand side, making a number of line breaks for the Cronulla team.
In the forwards Robinson tried hard as always.
In sixth position heading into the weekend the NSW Cup Sharks could fall as low as eight depending on other round 16 results.
NSW Cup Sharks 24
Nathan Gardner 3, Pat Politoni tries, Nathan Stapleton 4 goals
Tyrone Phillips 2, Levi Dodd, Damien Cook, Pat O'Hanlon, David Minute tries Pat Templeton four goals and a field goal
NSW Cup Sharks Team List
1. Nathan Gardner
25. Young Tonumaipea
2. Travis Robinson
4. Blake Ayshford
5. Nathan Stapleton
6. Penani Manumalealii
7. Daniel Holdsworth
8. Tim Robinson
9. Pat Polotoni
10. George Rose
11. Sione Masima
13. Tupou Sopoaga
14. Michael Morris
15. Dayne Weston
16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
17. Scott Sorensen