5 Key Points: Sharks v Cowboys
1. Sharks showed grit when it mattered most
Facing the Premiers and in search of 10 consecutive wins, the challenge the Cowboys presented to the Sharks meant that they would have to stand up in the big moments to walk away with the two points. And that, they did.
A dubious knock-on call ruled against Ben Barba in the 68th minute gifted the Cowboys possession in sight of the line, but the Sharks defence rose – twice – to turn the visitors away despite looking to cross the line.
The resolute defence then saw the Sharks work the ball into an attacking position, before icing the match with a vital three points courtesy of James Maloney’s boot.
2. The evergreen Paul Gallen again runs for 200 metres,
Running for more than 200 metres is an achievement not new to Paul Gallen, but take nothing away from the Sharks inspirational leader.
Gallen charged for 200 metres from his 20 carries, while not shying away from his work in defence in making 41 tackles also.
A fresh Gallen gave the Sharks a boost in the remaining 25 minutes, after coming from the field for a breather in the second period.
3. Holmes’ grab to score proves the definition of a game changer.
On their own goal line and seemingly just moments away from being 12, if not 14 points in arrears, Valentine Holmes’ 95-metre intercept try set the Sharks wheels in motion en route to an impressive 3-point win.
The poise to calmly regather possession after knocking the ball upwards showed experience beyond his years, while the swerve to turn the Cowboys’ Lachlan Coote inside and out oozed class.
4. Maloney makes Cowboys pay for ill-discipline inside their own end.
Five of the eleven penalties conceded by the Cowboys were done so within 30 metres of their defensive goal line, giving the opportunity for Maloney to slot three decisive penalties to send the Sharks towards a win.
The Sharks too were guilty of gifting Johnathan Thurston a chance to kick two penaly goals, which he did.
5. Home record remains intact after 7 matches at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Not since 1999 have the Sharks had a better start to their season at Home.
The eventual minor premiers that season, the Sharks boasted a record of 11 wins and 1 loss inside 12 regular season matches at the then-Shark Park.
Though focussing on the now, consecutive games against the Warriors and Eels at Southern Cross Group Stadium lead into the final three Home fixtures against the Knights, Raiders and Roosters respectively.
The Sharks are hopeful of having the backing of a strong crowd at every opportunity, in the run in to the back end of the season.