The Sharks have been bundled out of the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership just one game shy of the Grand Final, going down by 16-10 to the North Sydney Bears in their qualifying match at Leichhardt Oval today.
Against a big and physical Bears outfit, the Sharks started slowly, worked their way into the contest and grabbed a second half lead, before two late North Sydney tries sealed the result.
After losing just one match during the seven-game regular season it was a disappointing end to a promising campaign from the Sharks, who also bowed out of contention one week before the Grand Final the season prior.
The Bears had the better of the field position early, mounting plenty of pressure on the Sharks defence with their persistence paying off, fullback Shanice Parker backing up a strong carry from one of the big North Sydney forwards to post first points.
From adjacent to the posts the conversion was successful and at 6-0 some 15 minutes into the match the Bears had all the momentum.
The Sharks managed to keep their composure, worked their way into Bears territory and it was Kennedy Cherrington crashing over after running onto a short pass close to the line for Cronulla's opening try.
Maddie Studdon was able to convert and it was 6-all with still time on the clock in the first period.
Both sides squandered scoring opportunities ahead of the break with the Sharks likely to be satisfied with the scoreline after the Bears had the better of the opening 30 minutes.
The Sharks dodged a bullet when the Bears couldn't capitalise on an early scoring opportunity just after half time and in taking advantage of the let off, would take their first lead of the afternoon soon after.
It was a Corban McGregor kick, which Bears fullback Parked failed to gather, that resulted in an Andie Robinson try in the north-eastern corner of Leichhardt Oval.
Studdon couldn't convert from a difficult angle however the Sharks had their noses in front at 10-6 10 minutes into the second period.
A poor last tackle option from the Cronulla side, then a penalty gifted the Bears field position and saw them go back on the attack and when front rower Monica Mo'ale managed to ground the ball despite the attention of a number of Sharks defenders, followed by the simple conversion, and the North Sydney girls were back in front 12-10.
Playing off the back foot and unable to create opportunities at the attacking end, it would be a desperation play which would seal the Sharks fate, a kick gone wrong picked up by Shontelle Stowers, with the Bears centre racing away on a 50-metre run to score the match winner.
The Sharks tried desperately to send the match into golden point only for time to run out and ultimately end their season.
Playing a large portion of their year without a number of their key players, the Sharks will be disappointed in the final result but can be proud of their efforts throughout the 2020 HNWP season.
Kennedy Cherrington, Andie Robinson tries, Maddison Studdon goal