Every side has a bogey team and the Cronulla Sharks are fast becoming the bogey side for the Sydney Roosters, as they defeated the Eastern Suburbs side 10-4 for the second time this season.
With their forwards leading the way from the front and dictating the terms of the game, they eventually overpowered and outmuscled the Roosters pack.
In what was an upset victory, the Sharks were a side transformed compared to that which was decimated by the Dragons just one week ago.
Although the scoreboard was not flattering, the entertainment value was on show for all to see as both sides put on a bruising display of hard hits and constant niggle.
In front of a home crowd of 14,000 plus fans, the Sharks rallied and used that support to guide them to victory.
The Roosters ended up being their own worst enemy, though, as they committed 11 errors in the first-half, thus failing to build any prolonged momentum.
Several melees ensued throughout the game, as Origin team-mates went toe-to-toe and exchanged words in a hotly contested battle.
There was a chance late-on for the Roosters to potentially salvage something from the game and force it into extra-time but it was not to be, as a knock-on sealed their fate and gave the win to the Sharks.
With the return of Paul Gallen, the Sharks players seemed rejuvenated and galvanised and coach Shane Flanagan praised his captain’s efforts.
“He’s our leader,” Shane Flanagan said.
“The confidence he gives to the players around himâ€¦ He doesn’t talk when he doesn’t have to, he’s a great leader of the club. The confidence he gives to those young blokes, Valentine Holmes, [Sosaia] Feki and Jack Bird, it’s not measurable. It’s good to have him back.”
Rather than building their attack in a structured manner, Roosters coach Trent Robinson says his side was guilty of trying to score on every play.
“It felt like every set we were trying to score,” Trent Robinson said.
“For 80 minutes, every set we were trying to score. We didn’t care about building a game, we didn’t care about putting pressure on our opposition, we were just trying to score. Error, poor kick then defensive pressure on us again was just incredible,” he said.
After a big game last week, Robinson was also disappointed with how his side failed to take that form into this one.
“Very different [performance] we just relied on it (the Storm win) a bit much,” Robinson said.
“We thought we could just turn up and it would all happen again. It’s just a poor performance coming off what we did [to the Storm]. Too many blokes thinking it will just happen again and looking for some easy outs.”
3. Wade Graham
2. Paul Gallen
1. Jeff Robson