They may not have won the game but the Cronulla Sharks can be proud of their efforts despite a narrow loss to the New Zealand Warriors.
The Warriors, who are known for their attacking flair, have decimated teams in recent weeks but the Sharks steely resolve held them at bay and frustrated them, especially during the second half.
Averaging 30 points in their last five games, the Warriors started strongly and immediately had the Sharks on the ropes, with the defensive pressure proving too much eventually.
That did not deter the away team, though, as they scored a rather fortuitous try to even the scores up and wrestle back some momentum.
With a lions share of possession – the Warriors had 68% of possession – the Warriors could only crack the Sharks resolute defence three times.
Although the Warriors will take the win, their second half in particular was quite tame, as they allowed the Sharks to get the run on them and force themselves back into the contest.
The win also ended a five-match losing streak against the Sharks and was the Warriors fifth win at Mt Smart Stadium this year.
Knowing that they have to improve after today’s effort, Warriors coach Andrew McFadden is just pleased to take the two points.
“It was a scrappy win but two points is two points at this time of the year,” said McFadden.
“We needed to win and we haven’t backed up especially after a big win last week.”
Knowing how much they were kept at bay, McFadden credited the Sharks for their defence.
“We have to give credit to the opposition for the way they’ve fought,” said McFadden.
“They’ve only got pride to play for and with all the losses in their team, they really turned up.
“We had our own challenges out there when we lost Tui in about the second minute of the game and then Dane Nielsen, it really tests you.”
For the Sharks, it was all about character, resolve and determination. Coach James Shepherd saw it and was pleased with how the side never gave up.
“With the weight of possession in the first half, to go in 16-6 down, we were reasonably happy,” said Shepherd.
“Our effort was great, our attitude was great and to keep them scoreless in the second half, was an amazing display.
“The blokes were working really hard for each other and with a shade more luck or a different decision, we may have grabbed it there in the end.”
Warriors 16 (Laumape x2, Vatuvei tries; Townsend 2 goals) defeated Sharks 12 (Arona, Feki tries; Gordon 2 goals) at Mount Smart Stadium. Crowd: 13,939.