A gutsy second half fight back has come up short for the NYC Sharks who bow out of the 2016 Holden Cup competition after suffering a 28-18 loss to the Roosters at GIO Stadium in Canberra.
Down and seemingly out at 22-6 behind just after half time the young Sharks showed great courage in keeping themselves in the game until a 78th minute Roosters try would eventually seal their fate.
It was a disappointing end to a season which saw the Sharks finish fourth after the home and away season, with plenty of outstanding young talent unearthed.
After withstanding some early pressure the Sharks would be first to score, lock Eddie Faulua showing good footwork in beating a handful of tacklers to score under the posts.
Jack Williams converted from close range and the Sharks were up 6-0 inside the first 10 minutes.
The Sharks looked as though they may have extended their advantage shortly after when Lachlan Stein managed to get the ball down over the line, however the referee denied the try in ruling a double movement.
Soon after the disallowed try momentum would change, partly due to the Roosters turning up the intensity and also as a result of a couple of misdirected kicks in the Sharks attacking zone, with the final 20 minutes of the first half somewhat one-way traffic.
First it would be Joseph Manu touching down, his centre partner Jarred Anderson managed his teams second in similar circumstances on the other side of the field when the Sharks kicked out on the full from the ensuing kickoff, before hooker Grant Garvey exploited some tired Sharks defense for a third four pointer of the half.
Halfback Jesse Marschke kicked two conversions from his three attempts and the Roosters would take a 16-6 lead to the break .
The Roosters kept pressing early in the second period and when Manu took the ball from Jayden Walker in a one-on-one steal they went back on the attack, the end result being another try, this one to winger Bernhard Lewis.
The conversion was successful and the Sharks had plenty to do at 22-6 down.
The only thing in the Sharks favour at that stage of the match was time, with still more than 35 minutes left on the clock and slowly but surely they worked their way back into the match.
After turning away a couple of attacking raids from their opponents the Sharks started to press themselves and they would bridge the gap when Jayden Walker crashed over off a short ball from five eighth Rhys Davies.
Williams added the extras and 56 minutes into the match it was 22-12 to the Roosters.
Refusing to go away the Sharks managed to edge closer, this time when Stein planted the ball down wide out and when Williams kicked successfully it was game on at 22-18 with 13 minutes left in the game.
With the match now on a knife’s edge both teams had chances, the game going from end to end with neither side willing to concede.
Unfortunately for the Cronulla side they would eventually break, the match sealing try coming two minutes from fulltime and after three consecutive sets on their try line, Anderson scoring his second from a simple hit up off a scrum 10 metres out from the line.
The final conversion was successful, rounding out the scoring and bringing down the curtain on the Sharks 2016 season.
Despite being on the wrong end of the score line the Sharks had a number of willing contributors on the night, none better than Jayden Brailey at hooker, the skipper leading from the front.
The Roosters now move onto a Grand Final qualifying match against St George Illawarra next Friday night.
Eddie Faulua, Jayden Walker, Lachlan Stein tries Jack Williams 3 goals
Jarred Anderson 2, Grant Garvey, Joseph Manu, tries, Jesse Marschke 4 goals