Win, and their finals hopes remain intact. Lose, and their finals hopes are over. That was the proposition for the Newcastle Knights, and they took it in their stride, as they ran over the top of a Cronulla Sharks outfit, desperate for a top 4 spot, winning 26-4 at Hunter Stadium.
As the Knights keep their finals hopes alive, the Sharks hopes of making the top 4 have taken a hit, as they now find themselves 3 points behind fourth placed Manly, and have a mountain to climb to make the 4.
It was clearly Newcastle’s game from the outset, as Mullen took charge and his best game of the season – scoring one of his own, and creating three others.
Although they are a chance to make the finals, Knights coach Wayne Bennett is not buying into the media that they are a chance, but instead wants to ensure his side is playing good footy.
“You just want to be playing well at this end of the season and we’re doing that,” Bennett said.
“The rest of it gives us the best chance we’ve got.
“I’ve been in that many situations at this time of year, I can tell you about every experience.
“But the experience I enjoy most is (having) your teams playing well at the right end of the season … and right now we’re playing good football.
“Whether it’s good enough to get us there, I’m not sure.
“But I’m pleased to be in the position we’re in.”
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has not given up all hope on a top 4 spot, and believes that it is not out of their reach.
“If we win another game we’ll be in there,” Flanagan said.
“If we win a couple more, we’ll be near that top four.”