NSW Cup Match report – Sharks v Knights
A disappointing NSW Cup Sharks have given up 10 tries in going down by 56-12 to the Newcastle Knights in the match played at Hunter Stadium.
Poor ball control, a lack of intensity in defense and a 9-1 penalty count against them all contributed to the loss which came in a game where the Sharks were hoping to climb the competition ladder but have now put themselves under pressure in the race for a top eight berth.
The game began with the Sharks looking lethargic and the Knights took advantage, two tries in the opening eight minutes giving the Newcastle side a 12-0 lead.
The home team looked like making it 18 however the last pass went to ground and on the spot was Travis Robinson, with the Sharks winger running 90-metres to score at the other end.
Daniel Holdsworth converted and coach Tony Herman must have been thinking the long-range try just may have woken up his team.
Unfortunately that wasn’t to be, with Newcastle continuing to dominate possession as well as field position and after three more tries the Knights would take a 26-6 lead to the half time break.
The second stanza hardly began any better than the first, with Knights winger Josh Mantellato scoring in the fifth minute of the half, the try converted from touch and it was a huge mountain to climb for the Sharks at 32-6 behind.
A Sharks error resulted in Mantellato crossing for his third to make it 38-6 with 20 minutes to go, before the Newcastle winger would get his fourth try of the afternoon after some poor Cronulla defense out wide.
The Michael Dobson conversion from the sideline ran the score out to an embarrassing 44-6 before Nathan Gardner would get across the line for a consolation four-pointer for the Sharks to make it 44-12.
The Knights made it 50 when Dobson won the race to a through kick to score under the posts, before a second try to James Elias completed a Newcastle rout and ended what was a disappointing outing for the Cronulla side.
While hard to find any positives from the performance the efforts of Gardner deserved a mention, with the fullback giving his all despite his team being on the back foot throughout.
The Sharks dropped to eighth on the NSW Cup ladder and are now under pressure to qualify for the finals as they bid to defend the title won in 2013.
Travis Robinson, Nathan Gardner tries, Daniel Holdsworth 2 goals
Josh Mantallato 4, James Elias 2, Michael Dobson, Tyler Randall, Jason Ross, Braden Williame tries, Mantellato 4, Dobson 4 goals.
Sharks NSW Cup Team List
1. Nathan Gardner
2. Travis Robinson
20. Kurt Mann
4. Justin O’Neil
5. Young Tonumaipea
6. Ben Hampton
7. Daniel Holdsworth
21. Dayne Weston
9. Penani Manumalealii
10. George Rose
3. Blake Ayshford
16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
13. Scott Sorensen
8. Mark Mexico
12. Michael Morris
15. Jake Lawrence
16. Josh Portlock