Battered Sharks brave in Eels loss

An injury depleted Sharks side has slipped to a 24-12 defeat at the hands of the Eels in their round four clash at ANZ Stadium. 

The Sharks were battered but brave, with no Matt Moylan, Paul Gallen out 24-hours prior to kick off, then in adding to their problems Shaun Johnson is ruled out by medical staff less than an hour before kick-off, Josh Dugan was hobbled with a leg injury and Aaron Woods helped off with a possible fracture in his foot, however despite their issues the match was only sealed in Parramatta’s favour by a 72nd minute try. 

At the post match press conference Sharks coach John Morris expressed his pride in his teams performance but was disappointed the effort wasn't rewarded with a victory. 

The loss of Johnson before kick off was made worse when Dugan was forced from the field in the ninth minute for a head injury assessment and it would be the Eels to take advantage in posting first points. 

A last tackle kick brought Parramatta a positive result when Blake Ferguson challenged his opposite Sosaia Feki, the bouncing ball coming down into the arms of backrower Marata Nuikore who would touch down to open his teams account.

Mitchell Moses added the extras and it was 6-0 Eels. 

Having their tails up, the Eels continued to attack, a Jayden Brailey try-saver denying the home side and from that point the Sharks would work their way back into the contest. 

Dugan came back onto the field after being cleared of a concussion, with Josh Morris having deputised at the back, with his return coming at almost the same time as the Sharks posted first points. 

This time it came as almost the opposite of the first Eels try, with Ferguson failing to handle a Townsend grubber and Feki on the spot to ground the ball. 

Kyle Flanagan, in for Johnson, kicked the sideline conversion and it was 6-all after the first 30 minutes of the match. 

Two Sharks errors towards the back end of the half would prove costly, the Eels scoring wide out after a well-worked backline move, Brad Takairangi crossing the stripe, Moses converting, with Parramatta up 12-6 at half time. 

The Sharks received their first penalty in the third minute of the second half, their second only two tackles later and from the ensuing tap they would narrow the margin with a well-worked short side play resulting in Feki scoring his second. 

Flanagan was again on target from a wide angle and it was 12-all early in the second period. 

The injury woes for the Sharks continued just seven minutes into the half when Aaron Woods limped off with an apparent foot problem and their issues were made worse when Michael Jennings scored a fortuitous try when Dugan was unable to dive on a Moses grubber. 

The two points were added with a simple conversion and it was 18-12 Eels in the 53rd minute of the match. 

Showing plenty of determination the Sharks continued to press, only for some last ditch Eels defence to hold them out, but it would eventually be the Parramatta team to put the nail in the coffin when Moses exploited some space on the short side and Jennings scored his second of the night. 

Moses put his team 12 in front with the extra two points and at 24-12 with under 10 to go and while the Eels would take the points an undermanned Sharks side had made them earn them. 

In the beaten side the young centre Bronson Xerri was a shining light, looking dangerous with almost every touch, Kurt Capewell was effective on the left hand side and Jayden Brailey ran with purpose and handed in a professional performance at dummy half. 

The Sharks now have a week to assess their bumps and bruises and to get ready for a rampaging Sydney Roosters side, with that match scheduled for a 7.30pm kick off at Shark Park next Saturday night. 

 

SHARKS 12
Sosaia Feki 2 tries, Kyle Flanagan 2 goals
lost to

EELS 24
Michael Jennings 2, Marata Nuikore, Brad Takairangi tries, Mitchell Moses 3 goals