Five Key Points – Sharks v Warriors

1 What goes around, comes around
Nobody south of the NSW-Queensland border bought into the theory that the pass thrown by Darius Boyd for the Broncos try, that ultimately led to them beating the Sharks in round 15, was thrown backwards and floated – some six metres mind you – forward.

The pass was allowed to go by the referee and sideline officials and Corey Oates brilliantly touched down for the match winner.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and the boot was firmly on the other foot. Sensing an opportunity late in the game Matt Moylan passed to Ricky Leutele, who tipped on to Edrick Lee, the Sharks winger sliding over in the corner.

Sharks fans argued the last pass was 'flat', Warriors fans screamed it went forward. Whatever it was, the match officials again let it go, the Lee try was awarded and the Sharks claimed a valuable two points.

They say what goes around comes around, and that it all eventually evens out. If only that was always the case.

 

2 Woods makes a tidy debut
He pretty much watched on at his first training session on Tuesday night, his participation minimal due in part to the fact he had run around with the Bulldogs earlier that morning, before he took part in the captain's run session on the Thursday ahead of the game against the Warriors.

From there for about 25 minutes Aaron Woods then got to watch his new teammates go about their business from the sideline at Mt Smart Stadium, until he was thrust into the action for his first outing in Sharks colours.

He performed as many expected, running strongly, finding his front as they say in coach-speak, meaning quick play the balls follow, and was effective in defence.

Without quizzing him, there is no doubt the coach would have been satisfied by the effort, while most Sharks fans through social media channels shared his positivity as to Woods' first up performance.

Getting through 39 minutes, Woods made 16 runs for 134 metres, second behind only Paul Gallen and Valentine Holmes for metres gained, also making 19 tackles, with no misses.

It was a tidy debut despite the limited preparation, with Woods set to play an important role for the Sharks in the run to the finals, not to mention in the seasons that follow. 

 

3 The big guns set to fire
As they have done when called upon by coach Flanagan, back rowers Scott Sorensen and Kurt Capewell were two of many who did an outstanding job against the Warriors.

Capewell's running style makes it difficult for opposition defences to dominate him in the play the ball, while Sorensen was again strong on the left-hand edge, tackling effectively and taking the ball forward with vigour.

In the backs, one error notwithstanding, Holmes was impressive at fullback, youngster Sione Katoa showing glimpses of his potential once again on one wing, while Edrick Lee continues to add to his try tally on the other flank.

Taking all of the above into consideration, therein lies the conundrum for Flanagan, with the potential return of big guns Wade Graham, Luke Lewis and Josh Dugan for the round 17 match against the Panthers.

Coaches say it is a good position to be in, to have all players on deck and available for selection, but at the same time it is difficult for those who don't make the 17-man squad for game day when all are worthy of a place in the Sharks side.

The Sharks have a bye this week, the respective injuries of Graham, Lewis and Dugan will continue to heal, with the team sheet for the game against the Panthers set to provide some interesting reading.

 

4 The Chicko-Brailey switch
The regular plan throughout the 2018 season has been to play Jayden Brailey for around 50-60 minutes, before James Segeyaro is injected into the game.

In the most part, it has been a strategy that has worked for the Sharks, with the solid and dependable Brailey making all his tackles, while providing good service and support play from dummy half.

Then on comes Segeyaro to add some energy around the rucks, threaten tiring defences and to create scoring opportunities where he can.

At Mt Smart Stadium, the respective roles were slightly tweaked.

Brailey played the first 28 minutes of the match, then Segeyaro was thrown into the action and was quick to have his usual impact.

Whether it was the plan or just the way it played out, Segeyaro stayed on the field for the entire second half in what was a switch around of roles, at least in terms of game time, from weeks past.

How is it going to work going forward, only the coach and his staff might have the answer to that, but having two capable number nines, and a pair with varying playing styles at that, can only be a good thing.

 

5 The Jets take off and one kid fly's highest
A little bit of doom and gloom has surrounded the loss of a couple of Sharks outside backs for 2019, however the performance of one youngster at Henson Park on Saturday should have Cronulla fans confident there is no shortage of talent coming through.

In his first start in a senior level game, 17-year-old centre Bronson Xerri put in an eye-catching performance for the Newtown Jets in their big win over the Wentworthville Magpies.

With his first touch of the football Xerri, a local kid who played NSW Under 18's this year and has come through the Sharks junior rep ranks, jinked off his left foot and sliced through to score.

Before the half was out, he had scored two more tries for the Newtown side then in the second half should have added a fourth, only for a dubious obstruction decision by the match referee.

It was about as impressive as you can get from a youngster stepping up in age and class for the first time.

Still only a 'pup' time will tell if Xerri is ready for next year, however with the re-signing today of Jack Williams, the selection of four Cronulla players in the NSW under-20's origin team and the potential announcement of more player retention's in the coming days and weeks, and the Sharks are in a healthy state.