2014 has been a tough year for the Cronulla Sharks in many ways. ASADA is still on the back and continuing their investigation, they have had a coach step down and a key player sacked.
Just a few weeks ago, they had a barren run of no scoring but fast forward to the present day and after two miraculous comebacks, the Cronulla Sharks are on a roll and on a high.
Battered and bruised from the turmoil that has plagued them this year, it looked like the Sharks were in for a long night early, as the Sydney Roosters raced away to what seemed like a comfortable lead.
The Roosters were in cruise control and were dominating large portions of the game, as the Sharks had no answer for the barrage of metres and points.
The second half was a totally different story. A game of two halves – literally. The Sharks came out with fire in the belly and showed resilience that has seen them come-from-behind to win two weeks in a row.
The sheer determination and heart of the players caught the Roosters off-guard, as they made uncharacteristic errors, thus failing to capitalise on good opportunities.
Conversely, the Sharks made the most of their opportunities and led by captain Wade Graham and a lot of their young players, they dug deep and clawed their way back into the contest.
Ultimately, they did enough, as a last-minute try to veteran half Jeff Robson sealed a tremendous come-from-behind win over the defending premiers, a result that not many would have expected.
The senior players have been crucial in the past couple of weeks and interim coach James Shepherd said they have done a lot of the hard yards.
“The senior players have done a lot since Tuesday and prepared really well in our scrimmage against the 20’s on Wednesdsay,” said Shepherd.
“I suppose you can call it a miracle or a mentally tough performance by a group of men that are playing for each other.”
In the absence of their Origin stars and other senior players due to injury, it was up to Wade Graham to lead from the front and the stand-in captain did just that.
“It was just a super effort from the boys,” said Graham.
“Really proud of them. I thought they did really well apart from the first twenty minutes but once we started trading sets and found our rhythm, I thought we went with them the whole game.”
What disappointed Roosters head coach Trent Robinson was the nature in which they lost the game, especially after their blistering start to the game.
“After such a good start, a controlled start, they started to play a bit of offload footy which gave us a bit of sign,” said Robinson.
“They did that in the second half and opened us up and we lost our mojo in defence. We just didn’t talk well enough and combine well enough.
“We were all over the shop by halfway through that second half.”
3. Wade Graham
2. Jeff Robson
1. Nene Macdonald