5 KEY POINTS | Sharks v Tigers
The Sharks climbed to 5th on the NRL ladder after their 40-18 win over the Wests Tigers at Remondis Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Here are the talking points to come out of the win.
1. The 40-18 scoreline didn't reflect how close the contest actually was.
Up by just six points with 20 minutes to play, the Sharks found a way to surge towards a big win - but take nothing away from the Tigers' effort to reduce their initial 20 points to 6 half-time deficit.
A Valentine Holmes' intercept try with 15 minutes remaining all-but sealed the Sharks win, but Coach Shane Flanagan said the visitors' effort in pressuring the Cronulla lead was one that must be respected.
"Credit to them, they came back for a bit with a bit of momentum, but we just held in there and got the job done," Flanagan said in his post match presser.
2. Valentine Holmes is well within reach of setting a Club record, and continues to excite fans.
Valentine Holmes' double against Wests took his personal try tally for 2015 to 16 - and to within 3 tries of equalling Club legend David Peachey's record for 19 tries in a season (including finals).
At just 20-years-old, and in his first full season in the top grade, Holmes continues to set the NRL stage alight and will no doubt be doing all he can to keep crossing for four-pointers.
"It's good to have someone like Val ... to have those type of players in your team who can go the length and to score tries ... We've been a grinding and grafting team for while i've been coach. It's (the ability to score long distance tries) something we haven't had in a while," Flanagan said.
"It's a real pleasure to have those players in our team."
3. Luke Lewis & Michael Ennis 'keep on keeping on' as the side edges ever closer to finals footy.
Michael Ennis and Luke Lewis' services would be an asset to any Club in the NRL - let alone having them both run out for the same side each and every week.
Lewis' opening try in just the fourth minute set the tone for the Sharks, before Ennis' hustle and bustle from acting half edged the side further in front on the brink of the break.
No one can question the experience and determination in the Sharks' forward stocks, and the form of Ennis and Lewis holds the side in good stead running into the finals series.
4. Playing '80 minutes' is a must if the Sharks are to run deep into the NRL finals.
Despite the 22-point win, Shane Flanagan admitted that his side strayed from what they do best - running hard and working for each other in defence.
In the 20 minutes after half-time, the Tigers ran in two soft tries to reduce the margin to just six, and the energy levels within the Cronulla camp looked at a dejected low.
Credit to Flanagan's men, the Sharks sprung back to life and ran in three tries in quick succession. But they know still that they won't be able to clock off against the competition's leading sides, and expect a result, come the do-or-die matches in September.
5. The Remondis Stadium looked an absolute treat!
On-field matters aside, is there anything better than seeing more than 15,000 fans packed into the Remondis Stadium on a warm Saturday's afternoon?
Sharks fans and members, take a bow. Your presence and noise got the Sharks side home against a Tigers side that refused to say die.
We hope to see each and every one of you when we do it all again in Round 26 against the Manly Sea Eagles.
Remember you can pre-purchase your tickets NOW to avoid queues on the day!