Sharks sail into finals on fourth consecutive win

The Sharks have finished the regular season in fourth position after scoring a 30-18 victory over the Bulldogs in their round 25 clash.

Almost assured of a top four finish before the game, the Sharks still had a job to do and they managed to do enough against a determined Bulldogs outfit in scoring six tries to three in what was a solid hit out before the big games ahead.

The Bulldogs were on the board early courtesy of a penalty goal but it would be the Sharks to cross for the first try, Valentine Holmes streaking into a yawning gap before passing to Kurt Capewell, with the rangy centre touching down 10 metres in from the sideline.

Holmes added the extras and after the first 14 minutes the Sharks were up 6-2.

After earning a repeat set shortly after the Sharks went back on the attack and this time it was a rampaging Andrew Fifita who would career through a hole in the defensive line to score wide out.

Holmes was again on target and it was 12-2 Sharks.

Now with their tails up the Sharks pressed again and this time a Chad Townsend grubber was brilliantly gathered by Josh Dugan who got the ball down for his teams third of the afternoon.

On this occasion Holmes couldn't convert but the Sharks had a handy 16-2 advantage some 20 minutes into the contest.

The Bulldogs however would respond, Josh Morris, set to be a Shark in 2019, making a long run down the eastern touchline. From the following play the Bulldogs would spread the ball to their right, with Will Hopoate scoring wide out.

The conversion attempt was unsuccessful and with still 12 minutes of the first half remaining, the Sharks led 16-6.

In what was turning into an entertaining game for the 14,000-strong crowd at ANZ Stadium, the play would go from end to end, the Sharks going close, before the Bulldogs would make another long range break, this time Holmes making a try saving cover tackle.

Now with the momentum, and on the back of a couple of penalties the Bulldogs would inch closer when Michael Lichaa took a quick tap and barged over.

Martin was successful with the simple conversion attempt, the score 16-12 approaching half time.

And just when it appeared it would stay the same into the break, the Sharks would push out the lead, Sosaia Feki grounding the ball within centimetres of the western sideline after a clever Holmes pass.

Holmes couldn't covert but it was 20-12 Sharks after the opening 40-minutes.

The teams went set for set in the early exchanges of the second period and it would be the Bulldogs to break first, after concerted pressure on their line Holmes would add to his record-setting try tally when he sliced through wide out for the Sharks fifth try of the game.

His conversion attempt bounced off the upright and was waved away but the Sharks had a nice lead at 24-12 in front.

With nothing to loose the Bulldogs continued to throw the ball around and chase points and when a floating pass found Brett Morris unmarked just five metres out from the line the former Kangaroo winger managed to plant the ball down.

Martin kicked the difficult conversion and the Bulldogs were within six.

A promising move broke down for the Bulldogs and the Sharks turned defence into attack, with a slick passing movement putting Feki into space, the winger outpacing the cover for his second try of the match, the Holmes kick making it 30-18 with 24 minutes left in the contest.

Capewell was called back from what appeared to be another try when it was ruled the pass from Wade Graham was forward and from that point the final period of the match became a little sloppy, the Sharks with their minds on the finals, the Bulldogs frantically searching for the points that would give them a last round victory.

The win cemented fourth position on the ladder for the Sharks, who now move into a qualifying final next weekend against the Roosters.

SHARKS 30

Sosaia Feki 2, Valentine Holmes, Kurt Capewell, Andrew Fifita, Josh Dugan tries, Valentine Holmes 3 goals
BULLDOGS 18

Will Hopoate, Michael Lichaa, Brett Morris tries, Rhyse Martin 3 goals

Crowd - 14,189