Bucking the trend for their poor Monday night record away from Southern Cross Group Stadium, the Sharks found a way to win when all had looked lost.
See the '5 Key Points' to come out of the win!
1. No rest for an inspirational Andrew Fifita, who lead the Sharks charge
Origin representative Andrew Fifita churned out massive minutes and showed a big motor to inspire the Sharks to a come-from-behind win.
21 carries for 190 metres, while making 27 tackles in his time without the ball, showed why Fifita is considered one of the game’s best big men.
2. Ticking time no issue for an unflustered Sharks side
Denied tries in the 58th and 77th minutes respectively, the never say die attitude of the Sharks was on show for all to see, as the side scraped home by two points.
Such was the resolve of the 17 Sharks men, Coach Flanagan praised his chargers resilience to fight back when things weren’t going to plan.
3. Bird, Graham star in Origin ‘audition’
It may have been Jack Bird’s flicks and tricks that caught the eyes of the spectators, but don’t discredit the 21-year-olds brilliant 1-on-1 defence against current Origin centre, Josh Morris.
Backrower Wade Graham also turned in a strong showing, running for more than 100 metres from his 14 carries, and making 27 tackles – perhaps none more so crucial than a vital 1-on-1 shot to deny Aiden Tolman close to the line in the 77th minute.
With many calling for Bird and Graham to be inclusions in Laurie Daley’s Blues side for Game II, the pair did their chances no harm with stellar efforts against quality opposition.
4. Leutele took his chance when it came
Sosaia Feki’s injury meant his left edge partner Ricky Leutele found late minutes – perhaps when he wasn’t expecting to see any of the action.
Leutele came on and scored the match winner – having been denied a try earlier also – and made crucial stops when not with the ball in hand.
5. Barba’s ‘lucky seven’ charm
Ben Barba has always walked away from a Sharks versus Bulldogs fixture with the two points in his back pocket.
Seven times has Barba played in the Sharks versus Bulldogs fixture (five at Bulldogs, two at Sharks), for seven wins – having scored seven tries in those matches.