5 Key Points: Sharks v Souths
1. Gallen’s work rate again sorely missed by the Sharks
Despite the best efforts of front rower Andrew Fifita, the Sharks were unable to make a real dent in the South Sydney defence, and an injured Paul Gallen’s absence didn’t aid their cause.
Fifita ran for more than 200 metres, though when weary towards the game’s back-end, Gallen’s usual desire to take the ‘tough’ carries was unable to be filled by the men on the park.
2. Ricky slick upon his starting return.
Regular centre Ricky Leutele made his return to run-on action against the Rabbitohs, and looked every bit back at home on his familiar left edge.
Leutele provided much of the spark in the Sharks attack, and always looking dangerous with the ball in hand, ran for 137 metres from his 14 carries, including three tackle busts.
3. Final ball goes astray, as chances slip away.
Though the end result may not reflect the chances the Sharks had, the side created several second-half chances where the final pass or play didn’t go to hand.
Leutele’s kick into the in-goal for an outstretched Gerard Beale (58th minute), before Captain Wade Graham spilled a ball from a James Maloney bust in the 64th minute, were two opportunities unable to be capitalised on.
4. Sharks halves’ energy sapped, as they were made to work in defence.
A combined 52 tackles for Sharks halves Chad Townsend and Maloney would mean the side’s play would be stifled, as the pair were made to work hard from their time without the ball.
5. Attentions turn to the final outing at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Returning to Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday for the final Home game of the 2016 season, the Sharks will be out to snap a three-game losing streak, with the backing of a parochial crowd.
In what is shaping as a near must-win game for the side to retain a place in the all-important top 2, the Club urges Members and fans to turn out in numbers, to see the side to what would be a record-equalling 11th Home win this season.
Not since the Club’s Minor Premiership year of 1999 has a Sharks side recorded more than 10 Home wins in a single season, with Saturday’s clash with the Roosters a golden opportunity to match the feat of ’99.
Be at #NRLSharksRoosters this Saturday night as the Sharks farwell Michael Ennis in his final game at Southern Cross Group Stadium! Click HERE to secure your spot.