Hopeful of bouncing back after a poor finish to their game last week, the Parramatta Eels were optimistic that a win against the Cronulla Sharks was possible. However, as the game illustrated, constant errors and penalties let them down and it was the Cronulla Sharks who came out victorious.
After a disappointing back end to their loss against the Titans, the Sharks aggressive nature and solid line speed put the Eels players under pressure resulting in constant errors.
The Sharks themselves were not saints in this regard nor in the penalties stakes but they capitalised on the Eels errors and made better use of the opportunities presented to them than the Eels.
With both clubs celebrating the life of departed rugby league player Jon Mannah by playing for the Johnny Mannah Cup, it was an emotional game in many respects for some.
The first half was mostly about sturdy defence as the Sharks went into half-time with a 12-6 lead courtesy of tries to Jayden Brailey and Sosaia Feki. David Gower scored the Eels sole try.
The Eels had their opportunities to score more points in the first half and early in the second but forced passes and indecisiveness in attack proved their downfall in attack as they failed to build any momentum.
New Sharks recruit James Segeyaro played towards the back end of the second half and gave away a penalty with his first involvement in the game but he will get better as the weeks go by.
The Eels now have some soul searching to do ahead of two tough away trips to Canberra and New Zealand before they return home for an Easter Monday clash v the Wests Tigers.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan was impressed with his side’s performance and praised their sturdy resolve in defence.
“Our defence was tremendous; very tough,” Flanagan said post-game.”
“They’re a good footy side and they threw a lot at us especially in the first half but we stood up to it and showed what we were about.”
Although the Eels lost, the effort was there from the side but the errors and lack of execution cost them in the end and coach Brad Arthur lamented that notion.
“When you put that much effort into a game, you probably need to come away with a better result than that,” he said.
“With completions around 60% and having to make an extra 70 tackles, we just didn’t give ourselves a chance.
“We lacked composure and a bit of patience.”
Eels captain Tim Mannah echoed his coach’s sentiments and know that the club have let themselves down in attack for two straight weeks.
“Defensively, I thought the boys had a real crack but we just shot ourselves in the foot and let us down in attack the last two weeks,” Mannah lamented.
Player of the Game:
3. Paul Gallen
2. Siosaia Vave
- Andrew Fifita
Cronulla Sharks 20 (Brailey, Feki, Maloney tries; Maloney 4 goals) defeated Parramatta Eels 6 (Gower try; Gutherson goal) at ANZ Stadium. Half time: Sharks 12-6. Crowd: 17,003.