The Newcastle Knights have beaten out the Cronulla Sharks 21-10 at EnergyAustralia Stadium earlier today, their win keeping their slim finals hope alive and bringing the NRL Ladder closer together.
With just 3 wins separating 4th place from 13th place – there is still a chance for lower ranked teams to make a run for the bottom half of the Top 8 in the next 2 months.
While the Knights win was littered with errors, they’ll be happy to bank the 2 points – with the Novacastrians now registering 3 wins on the trot.
The Sharks were their determined self, trying valiantly but ultimately committing the same mistakes. Errors in crucial field position and the penalties from usual suspect Paul Gallen cost Cronulla dearly as they watched the game slip away.
With NRL analyst Phil Gould releasing his team review today, the Channel 9 commentator and Fairfax writer has described the Sharks as almost identical to last year. While introducing more speed with their 2010 recruits, they still lack points – ultimately seeing them struggle to win games.
When looking at Newcastle, Gould pointed out the fact that the Knights have sorely missed their key man Kurt Gidley at times in 2010 – the NSW captain injured early in the season and then unavailable for club duties during Origin. Gus seems to think the Knights will fall short of the finals but could cause some upsets along the way.
When comparing their standing to last position, it’s not a pretty picture for Newcastle. At this time last year, they were sitting in 6th position, eventually finishing in 7th spot to confirm their finals appearance.
The Knights are away to the Raiders next Round in a tough roadtrip. The 2 points extra valuable here as both teams sit close on the ladder.
The Sharks host the Manly Sea Eagles, and will again be counting down the weeks until they can sign off for this season – waiting for a fresh approach in 2011.