5 Key Points: Sharks v Eels
1. Sharks number ‘1’ comes out on top
Forced to watch on from the bench for large parts of the 2015 season, Ben Barba played like a man with a point to prove when squaring off with Shark-turn-Eel, Michael Gordon.
Barba – while not at his flashy, brilliant best– was again impressive at the back, aiding in three line-breaks, and two tries also.
2. Versatility of the Sharks backs a feat unmatched across the league
Ruled unfit to take on the Eels, the Sharks leading try scorer Valentine Holmes was missed – though not as much as perhaps some would have thought – as Gerard Beale shifted to the right wing and starred in his absence.
Beale crossed for two vital tries at key stages in the match, while Ricky Leutele filled his familiar left centre role to also bag a double.
Returning to the side after a two-match stint on the sideline, Sosaia Feki also scored a brace – the third time this season he’s scored two or more tries in a match.
Couple that with Luke Lewis’ ease at playing in the back line, the Sharks boast depth that would turn most other clubs green in the face.
3. Graham proved the vital link in Sharks sweeping plays
Known for his ability to ball play at the line, Wade Graham brought out his old tricks to have a hand in the side’s first two tries of the night.
As well as recording 87 metres from his 10 carries – with 30 tackles to boot – Graham threw the vital passes to see Feki and Leutele cross for the first of their pairs respectively.
4. Fifita was again at his bustling best
162 metres from 19 carries, Andrew Fifita broke nine tackles in seeing his side to another important win.
Though far from surprising, the busts consolidate Fifita’s title as the Club’s leading tackle breaker, with 59 inside 15 appearances this season.
5. Sharks once more showed their resolve is above and beyond all others.
Down 18-nil after just 22 minutes gone, the Sharks were made to work for the win over the Eels – but the resurgence from three tries down is a trait far from new.
Since 2010, the Sharks have won on five occasions having at one stage trailed by 18 or more points – more than any other club.