Sharks coach Shane Flanagan couldn't fault his team’s effort but he was left disappointed by the error count and lack of discipline in their round one loss to the Cowboys.
Despite a completion rate below 60 percent the Sharks clawed their way back to be just two points behind going into the last 10 minutes of the match, however two more mistakes in promising attacking situations saw them fail to bridge the gap in a game that was there for the taking.
“We hung in there and defended our try line for long periods of time but coming out of our end we turned the ball over too often and gas them too many opportunities,” Flanagan said.
“They played well, had good game management but we beat ourselves with errors and penalties.
The Sharks made 15 handling errors, nine of those in their own defensive end of the field, while conceding 10 penalties on the night, statistics that made it obvious to Flanagan why his team would eventually succumb to the Jonathan Thurston-led North Queensland team.
“With eight minutes to go we’re two points behind and we’re in the game, but all those errors previously came back to haunt us,” he said.
However with the effort and desperation shown in defence, the coach was confident with an even share of possession the Sharks had the ability to quickly bounce back.
“We’ve got to be able to complete out sets a little bit better, kick a bit better and we’ll be in the fight and win some football games. They’re things we can fix and we will next week,” he said.
Having watched the early exchanges from the bench, before being thrust into the action midway through the first half, skipper Paul Gallen agreed with his coach’s assessment.
“Flano summed it up well. Our discipline in all areas made it way too easy for them,” Gallen said
“We turned the ball over, gave them leg ups out of their end and you just can't do that against good teams. We were brave, we were right in the game but have to fix up our completions and our penalties.”
The Sharks have a day to rest up and recover on Sunday before beginning preparations for the much-anticipated local derby clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons.