You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Sharks still the one for NRL attitude

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/05/2017 Scott Bailey

Attitude wise, Cronulla are ready to defend their NRL premiership.

But when it comes to execution, the Sharks still have a long way to go.

Their 18-14 win over St George Illawarra on Friday shot them to second on the NRL ladder, and marked their sixth win in seven games.

While the Sharks' title defence begins to take shape they still rank last in the NRL for penalties conceded and completion rate - which dropped to just 59 per cent at UOW Jubilee Stadium on Friday evening.

"I don't know we're going that good," Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said.

"It's concerning but there's no quick fix for it. We just need to work really hard.

"If we're conscious of it, which we are, and work really hard it will come down.

"It needs to come down for the end of the season and in the semi finals for us to compete.

"You do that in a semi-final, you get beat - there's no chance of winning."

But there was no questioning the Sharks' bravery against the Dragons.

They twice came back from behind in the second half, and held out a Saints side that competed at 92 per cent.

Cronulla required some luck, crossing for a key try in the 50th minute from a clear forward pass from Ricky Leutele, but even then were forced to come back again in the final 10 minutes.

"The effort was outstanding," Flanagan said.

"The attitude was great; the way they competed was top notch.

"I was really pleased with it."

Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen were both dominant up front for Cronulla, each topping 150 metres and combining for six offloads and three tackle busts.

The Sharks exposed the Dragons down the left edge, after regular St George Illawarra centre Euan Aitken was forced off with a serious hamstring injury, resulting in a reshuffle.

Meanwhile, Cronulla showed promise of further versatility in their own line up with Jack Bird given a licence to play with more freedom.

He was moved from centre into the halves in the final 20 minutes as they chased the game with success, with hooker Jayden Brailey off the field.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon