Five Key Points - Sharks v Roosters

What were the big moments, the crucial plays, the keys points to come from the Sharks loss to the Roosters on Saturday night. Here’s what we thought

1 Last play a game changer
The Sharks were well and truly in the game on Saturday night, down 6-0 with the clock ticking down to the half time break. 

Winning what would be the last scrum of the first half, the Sharks kicked on the first play, with the ball easily cleaned up by the Roosters defence. 

From there it all went pear shaped for the Sharks, a brilliant kick from Luke Keary with the siren sounding in the back ground was collected by Latrell Mitchell, the Origin centre dashing 70-metres down the eastern touchline to score. 

It was a devastating blow with the 6-0 advantage doubled by the Roosters and the Sharks heads were down as they trudged off to the sheds. 

It was a touch of class from the Roosters and a game changing play the Sharks wouldn't be able to recover from. 

 

2 Then blown away in the next 8 minutes
If the last seconds of the first half weren't enough, the opening eight minutes of the second period certainly sealed the result. 

After a Briton Nikora line break came to nothing with the last pass going to ground, the Roosters marched down the field and scored not once, not twice but three times and 6-0 after 39 minutes and 30 seconds had blown out to 30-0 just 48 minutes into the contest. 

It was a combination of disappointing Sharks ball handling and defence, coupled with some devastating attacking play from their opponents and in that short space of time the game was gone.

To their credit the Sharks kept trying, managed three tries and 16 points, but the damage had been well and truly done. 

 

3 Brailey a busy boy
With the Sharks injury issues and their interchange somewhat disrupted, in his 50th NRL game Jayden Brailey was forced to play longer than has been the case in recent weeks. 

The formula the last three or four weeks has been to get younger brother Blayke on the field after about an hour but the situation of the game and Andrew Fifita limping off in the second half upset those plans. 

Blayke was eventually subbed on for Jayden with just five minutes of the match remaining. 

The result was a tireless defensive performance from the Sharks number nine, with Jayden making a game-high 62 tackles. Maybe more impressive than that number was the stat that he missed just one all night. 

Couple that with 104 passes from dummy half and 40 running metres and Brailey was a busy boy on Saturday night. 

 

4 The injury toll mounts
Already Paul Gallen, Matt Moylan, Aaron Woods and Wade Graham were sidelined from the game on Saturday, their absence adding up to almost 1000 games of NRL experience. 

Now to compound their issues Andrew Fifita will be racing the clock to be fit for the Thursday night match against the Panthers after coming from the field with a hamstring problem. 

It’s not the number of injuries, with a lot of clubs listing four injured players or more, its who they are missing at the moment, with Fifita crucial to the Sharks chances against a big and physical Panther forward pack. 

Scans and treatment over the next few days should shed some light as to the severity of the injury and whether or not Fifita can join his teammates at PointsBet Stadium on Thursday night. 

It’s not all bad news however, with the likely return of Gallen, while Shaun Johnson showed no ill effects from the leg problem which kept him out of game with the Eels. 

No Fifita would shift the responsibilities to Matt Prior, Jayson Bukuya and Gallen, young forwards Jack Williams and Briton Nikora are making positive contributions, with Braden Uele doing a job for his team on Saturday. 

The toll may be mounting, but beware the injured Sharks. 

 

5 Stats don't always tell the story
If you look closely at the numbers it would have been hard to believe the game on Saturday night was as good as over with 30-minutes left on the clock. 

The Sharks ran for more metres, had six line breaks to five by the Roosters, 19 offloads to just 10 from their opponents, conceded only three penalties and received six, while both teams had 14 errors. 

They also had a reasonable share of possession, the Sharks having 51 per cent of the football. 

The stats don't necessarily mean the Sharks should have won, but they don't tell the story of the final score of 30-16, or 30-0 which the scoreboard read at one point of the match. 

The 14 errors are still a worry as communicated by the coach at the post-match presser, but he was also encouraged by the six line breaks, with his team breaking the opposition defensively line more than any team in the competition. 

The stats don't always tell the story, with the only one that really mattered read Roosters 30, Sharks 16.