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Five Key Points - Sharks v Titans

1. Any win is a good one on the Gold Coast
With all due respect, the Gold Coast in recent seasons haven't necessarily been one of the NRL's leading teams.

Competitive yes, dogged and determined, always, hard to beat, especially for the Sharks, definitely.

Last year the Titans got the points against the Sharks twice, once with a late try at Southern Cross Group Stadium, later in the year when they were dominant in a 30-10 victory.

In the Premiership winning season of 2016 it was the Titans to put an end to the Sharks 15-match winning streak when the two teams played out an 18-all draw. In 2015 one point and two points separated the teams as they claimed a victory each.

So while 10-9 may not sound pretty, and the match certainly wasn't that, it was a win and an important two competition points, against a tough opponent.

Any win is a good one when it comes to Sharks games against the Gold Coast.

2. Scoring them one thing, stopping them another
The Titans only managed one try, and a dubious one at that, due to what was an outstanding defensive effort by the Sharks.

Last week it was just two tries in the first 75 minutes against a renown attacking outfit in the Panthers, before conceding two more late four-pointers which while disappointing, came when the foot was off the pedal with the game in the bag.

The Sharks missed just three tackles in the first half at CBus, but it was the scramble and desperation in the second period that had Cronulla DNA written all over it, repeatedly turning away the Gold Coast despite field position and possession going against them.

Kurt Capewell and Jayden Brailey led the tackles made stats, Jayson Bukuya and Andrew Fifita were busy, with Brailey's try saver on former Shark Michael Gordon late in the game amongst the highlights.

Scoring tries is one thing, but stopping them equally important and the Sharks are showing the defensive resolve coach Flanagan is looking for.

3 Take 'em when you can get 'em
It might not have seemed like it at the time, but the one-pointer kicked by Chad Townsend on the stroke of half time proved extremely valuable in the final wash-up.

Townsend's game winner in the 78th minute might never have been possible if it wasn't for the first period strike, which probably came about through frustration as much as anything else, the kick coming after the Titans had defended a couple of sets and turned them away in the closing moments of the half.

You just never now how close games might end up, with points on the board always valuable.

Sometimes you've just got to take 'em when you can get 'em and the first half Townsend field goal ultimately proved the difference.

4 Holmes building towards his best
He scored a try, his fifth in has past four games, but it was his efforts in general play which had coach Shane Flanagan rating Valentine Holmes as his team's best player on the night.

Holmes was on the spot to accept a Jesse Ramien off-load for a first half try, but his work out of dummy half, consistently putting his team on the front foot, highlighted a performance which has won him Kangaroo and Queensland representation in recent years.

Outsiders continue to suggest he is unhappy on the wing, the consistent reply from his coach is his best spot at the Sharks at the moment is on the wing and Holmes's happiness will have a lot to do with how many tries he manages to score.

Both the coach and the player will be even happier when Val can have a big influence on the outcome of a match, as he did at CBus Stadium on Saturday night, scoring tries or not.

Holmes is on the way back, building towards his best, which is good news for the Sharks, whatever number he might have on the back of his jersey.

5 Prior goes above and beyond
Matt Prior left training early on Tuesday before heading for hospital to have treatment for a blood infection in his arm.

Discharged on Friday he headed for the Gold Coast on a late flight, joining his teammates the night before the game.

Much discussion was had by the coaching and medical staff on the day of the game, before Prior was cleared to play, the front rower not wanting to let his team down with experienced teammates Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and Wade Graham already sidelined.

Then despite his disrupted week, Prior got through 57 quality minutes, making 23 tackles, running for over 100 metres.

After the full-time whistle he races to the airport, boards a return flight, wth his partner Rebecca expecting their first child any day now.

It was a big week and an even bigger weekend for Prior, who went over and above the call in helping the Sharks register a crucial victory.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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