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Round 9: Man of the Match

There was no hiding the fact that it was a disappointing team performance from the Sharks who suffered a 56-24 thumping at the hands of a well-oiled Penrith side.

The loss of Andrew Fifita at half time through injury and three HIA’s disrupting their team structures after the break didn’t help however following a slow start the Sharks just couldn’t stem the tide, a brief comeback prior to the half time break providing some encouragement, although that was short-lived as the Panthers ran away with the game in the second period.

However, while it was an afternoon to forget for the Sharks team, the fans did recognise some individuals who handed in strong performances in the losing effort in this week’s Fan Poll Man of the Match.

In continuing his consistent form Josh Dugan made a smooth transition from centre to fullback and with 43 percent of the fan vote was a standout as the Sharks best on the day.

Also catching the eye was young hooker Blayke Brailey, scoring a determined try on the stroke of half time while defending strongly against the powerful Penrith pack in the middle of the field.

Brailey earned 19 per cent of the fans vote, just ahead of one of the Sharks newcomers in back rower Siosifa Talakai.

Despite being forced from the field after suffering a head knock late in the first half, Talakai certainly made an impression in what turned out to be a cameo appearance, his hard charges through the middle of the Penrith defence shifting the momentum somewhat in the Sharks favour.

Talakai received 12 per cent of the vote in gaining his first point in the Fan Poll Player of the Year race.

While a hard game for Shaun Johnson to shine, with the Sharks continually on the back foot, eight per cent of fans appreciated his efforts with a man of the match vote.

With this week’s three points Dugan goes past Johnson and into the lead in the yearly points table.  

 

The Sharks Fan Poll Player of the Year standings are below.
Josh Dugan         13
Shaun Johnson  12
Toby Rudolf        5
Sione Katoa        5
Blayke Brailey    4
Will Kennedy     4
Wade Graham   3
Jesse Ramien     3
Ronaldo Mulitalo 2
Braden Hamlin-Uele 2
Siosifa Talakai    1