:Digital Image Grant Trouville © NRLphotos  : NRL Rugby League - Finals Week 2 - NQ Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks at 1300SMILE Stadium Townsville, Saturday 9th of September 2015.

1. The Cowboys’ middlemen proved far too good.
James Tamou and Matt Scott showed well and truly why they are the Australian front row pairing. Running for a combined metre total well in excess of 300, the pair laid the platform for Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan to wreak havoc – which they did.
 

2. The Cowboys’ ‘spine’ broke Cronulla’s back.
Cowboys’ fullback Lachlan Coote showed on Saturday night that he is all class, in time and time again stepping up to the plate to deliver crucial plays at key moments.

A handful of try assists to Johnathan Thurston – in any NRL game – is quickly becoming the norm, but throw in the good work of hooker Jake Granville and two tries from Michael Morgan, and it’s easy to see how and why the Cowboys main men are regarded as one of the competitions leading quartets.


3. Cronulla’s youth learn the hard way.
Another year older, another year wiser, so let them say.

Jack Bird and Valentine Holmes’ finals careers got off to a dream start last weekend against the Rabbitohs, but the pair was shown the great challenges of playing at the ‘business end’ of the year on Saturday night.

In what was a hostile environment, the pair made uncharacteristic errors not seen in the 2015 season prior.

After both proved their value to the Sharks team, time and time again this season, the pair will no doubt learn from the Cowboys loss in heading into their second full seasons in the top grade.


4. Paul Gallen showed why he’s the NRL’s toughest player.
The Sharks skipper could near not walk such was the pain of an ankle mid-way through the first forty minutes. Commentators declared his season over at the change of ends.

But such is the grit, determination and toughness of Paul Gallen, the Captain rose to the task – and while not able to influence the end result – proved again why he is the NRL’s most resolute.

 

5. Cronulla fans proved they’re the best in the business.
While the majority of the 21,000+ fans on hand at the weekend were backing the home side, it was the minute showing of Sharks fans at the 1300Smiles Stadium that proved why they are the best supporters in the league.

Some paid expenses to travel, others drove considerable distances to let their voices be heard.

Despite not being able to sing the team song at full time, the supporters could hold their heads high at the end of the 80 minutes in knowing they’d done their part in showing dedication to the Cronulla club.