They may have been without Todd Carney and Paul Gallen, their two Origin stars, but the Sharks were no match for the Canterbury Bulldogs, especially not for live-wire fullback Ben Barba – as he scored two tries, to lead his side to a 26-6 win over the Sharks, at ANZ Stadium.
With Barba left out out of the QLD Origin side, he continued to press his case – with captain Michael Ennis congratulating Barba’s terrific performance.
“Benny’s a special player. He’s worked really hard on his game and since I’ve come to the club he’s really matured and developed,” Ennis said.
Despite the win however, the Bulldogs depth in the back-line will be tested, after replacement winger Luke MacDougall, suffered an injury.
Despite that, whilst Hasler is pleased with the way his side played, he saw plenty of room for improvement.
“We’ve got a bit to work on but very happy with the win,” he said.
“It was essential that we won tonight.
“Cronulla were probably a little flat coming out of a very tough game against Melbourne.”
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan is not about to panic just yet, and says that his side will have to cope without Todd Carney, during the Origin period.
“I will excuse tonight but I won’t excuse it too often,” he said.
“I am really proud of what they’ve done to date but I’m not proud of what we did tonight as a group.
“We were off the pace. We knew what they were going to throw at us but we sat back and watched them do it to us.”