6 Games that Shaped the Cronulla Season

sharkiesfreak

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Six games that shaped the Sharks' seasonBrought to you bySunday, September 11, 2011 - 6:52 AM
Source: BigPond Sport


Round 2: Sharks 16-10 Dragons

Many pundits had tipped Cronulla for 2011's wooden spoon; a prediction the Sharks had done nothing to dispel with a 40-12 opening loss against Canberra. After that match, skipper Paul Gallen said his side weren't even at a reserve grade level. So St George Illawarra – the reigning premiers, premiership favourites and world champions – were expected to make light work of their Sutherland Shire rivals. Instead, a performance of sheer determination by the home side at Shark Park delivered one of the upsets of the season. "We spoke about (bashing them) during the week. That's what he had to do," Gallen said.


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Round 4: Sharks 18-26 Warriors

The Warriors made Cronulla live to regret their decision to take a home game to Owen Delany Park in Taupo, New Zealand. The Sharks put in a solid display in the first 40 minutes to lead 12-8 at the break. In the second half, a string of silly penalties combined with minimal resistance in defence allowed the Warriors to run over the top. Coach Shane Flanagan refused to use the location as an excuse for a defeat that would begin a five-match losing streak. "We've known about this for a while so we're not going to throw that out there as an excuse,'' he said.


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Round 10: Sharks 18-4 Roosters

The losing run ended in front of their home fans and, while Gallen was again the star for the Sharks, it was the contribution of first-gamer Stewart Mills that really set tongues wagging. The 19-year-old came up with a 70m break, crossed for a four-pointer and racked up 197m. For Mills it was the culmination of a three-year battle against a stack of injury problems, including ankle, jaw and both his knees. ''It's good to come back, finally. I feel unreal. It's a surreal feeling. I'm finally here," he said. On Channel Nine, commentator Phil Gould hailed Mills' debut as among the best he had witnessed.


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Round 15: Bulldogs 10-26 Sharks

This was the performance that proved Paul Gallen is beyond human. Four days earlier, Gallen matched NSW great Glenn Lazarus by playing 80 minutes at prop in the Blues' stunning victory over Queensland in Game II of the State of Origin series. Despite spending every last ounce of energy against the Maroons, Gallen was the star in getting the Sharks home against Canterbury. He made 150m, crossed for one try and set up another. The Bulldogs were deplorable, but the Sharks deserved to win – and they carried on winning for three more games.


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Round 19: Dragons 38-8 Sharks

A win in the local derby would have launched Cronulla into the eight. Instead they received a painful reality check. The Dragons played near-flawless football in the opening 40 minutes, completing 18 of 20 sets, and the Sharks could only look on in restrained admiration. The score was 24-nil by the break, by which time the Sharks' finals aspirations suddenly looked a pipe dream. Hooker John Morris held his head high with a gutsy defensive display, making 41 tackles.


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Round 26: Sharks 22-30 Tigers

The thumping at WIN Stadium sent Cronulla on a dismal downward spiral. Seven consecutive losses followed and, by the time this season closer rolled around, you would have been forgiven for expecting a lopsided scoreline, especially with a home final on the line for the visitors. The Sharks had Paul Gallen to play for – and it was a credit to the team's spirit that they delivered a big-hearted performance in the skipper's 200th game. They were in the match at half time and found themselves within striking distance, trailing 26-22 with just eight minutes on the clock. But Robbie Farah's run from dummy half snuffed out hopes of an upset, scoring the match-winning try to thump the final nail into Cronulla's disappointing season.


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Ramzyv1

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I would say the Manly game was the one that ultimately shaped the season.

Yeah I would have put that instead of the Round 26 one but I agree with all the others, these were the games that shyaped our season for both good and bad. We really got the Dragons at the wrong time for our momentum.
 

burgess1978

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The second Dragons game was actually John Morris' worst performance of the season.
 

burgess1978

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I would also say the cowboys game where we lost Kelly and Hotdog were detrimental to the season.

Hotdog got hurt against Souths. I agree about the loss of Kelly vs the Cowboys though - but the silver lining is that we got to give Chad a taste of FG.
 
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