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Five Key Points - Qualifying Final

1 You've got to take your chances
Such is the nature of the matches and the closeness of the encounters, finals matches can often be decided by a refereeing decision, an error or a special play and it can probably be said the result on Saturday came down to all of the above.

The referees decided Chad Townsend had knocked on, when Jake Friend dropped the ball come out of dummy half. The Roosters scored soon after.

The combination of Latrell Mitchell's desperation in knocking the ball free and Luke Lewis being unable to ground the ball, when a try would have levelled the score with six minutes to go, was another big play that went a long way towards deciding the result.

The Sharks also bombed two other genuine try scoring chances, the first after a Valentine Holmes line break, the other when Ricky Leutele and Sosaia Feki didn't get it right when another opportunity presented.

It was as close as that, with a lot of the key moments going the Roosters and they came out on top 21-12.

It showed that in the big games you've got to take your chances.

2 Val v Teddy a split decision
It was hyped before the game and the clash of the fullbacks lived up to expectations with both players outstanding for their respective teams.

James Tedesco was safe at the back, threw the final pass for a try and was always dangerous will ball in hand.
As for the Sharks number one, Holmes was arguably his team's best, returning the ball with vigour, consistently turning up in attack and like Tedesco, he caught everything that was kicked his way.

When it came down to the numbers, Holmes ran for a staggering 323 metres on the night, while Tedesco was also outstanding with 240 run metres and a couple of try assists.

Teddy's Roosters got the win, but in the individual battle it was a split decision.

3 Wade a huge loss
The loss of Wade Graham, who suffered a torn ACL in just the 12th minute of the match against the Roosters, had a significant impact on the Sharks performance on Saturday night.

And that is by no means downplaying the contribution of Scott Sorensen, who did a highly commendable job on the Sharks left, in particular in defence where he shut down Tedesco and some dangerous Rooster ball runners.

But Graham is a dominating presence, with his uncompromising defence, silky skills and ability to kick the Sharks out of danger, making him a valuable commodity for his team.

The injury, while by far his most serious in 2018 caps an extremely frustrating season for Graham who had managed 17 of the Sharks 24 games this year.

Coach Shane Flanagan has a couple of solid options, Sorensen likely leading the pack, with Kurt Capewell and possibly Jayson Bukuya or Joseph Paulo also in line to fill the now vacant left back rower position.

Graham is a huge loss, but one the Sharks will need to overcome if they are to succeed on Friday and continue their finals run.

4 'Ouch'
Further on the back-row options available to Shane Flanagan, spare a thought (and male readers at the same time try not to flinch), for Kurt Capewell who will be amongst those in line to come into the Sharks team on Friday night.

Capewell had been outstanding in two matches while deputising for the injured Ricky Leutele and was selected on the Sharks bench before being ruled out of the Roosters match with injury.

And it was an injury the surgeon who looked after Capewell had only seen twice before, once it was former Shark Brett Kimmorley, the other time an AFL player.

Capewell ruptured a testicle but then went on to play the final 10 minutes of the Sharks round 25 win over the Bulldogs after suffering the injury.

Following a surgical procedure and after taking time to rest and recover, Capewell will be available to tackle the Panthers if required on Friday night.

He ticks the box for toughness and we've seen his on-field capabilities, so it Capewell gets the call he won't let anyone down on Friday night.

5 Flegg Sharks and Jets progress
In an indication of the depth in the Sharks ranks at the present time, all three teams, from the under 20 Jersey Flegg Sharks, to the Newtown Jets in the Intrust Super Premiership, to the NRL Sharks, are still alive some two weeks into September.

The Flegg Sharks progressed to a Grand Final qualifier with a convincing win over the Bulldogs on Sunday night, a day after the Jets easily disposed of the Mounties in their elimination final, leaving both teams just one win away from a Grand Final appearance.

While the Jets, the Sharks partner club in the ISP, supply a number of their own players, a lot of Newtown's success has come down to the input of some of the young Cronulla-contracted players, including Kyle Flanagan, Blayke Brailey, Sione Katoa and Will Kennedy.

The highest scoring team in the ISP, if they can find their attacking mojo, the Jets will be hard to beat when they play the Panthers on Saturday (1pm Kick-off, Leichhardt Oval) for a place in the Grand Final.

And in the Flegg, after a week one finals hiccup where they were narrowly beaten by the Panthers, the young Sharks rebounded and now need to beat Mounties on Sunday to progress to the Grand Final in a match to be played at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday (3pm, Leichhardt Oval) .

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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