The Sharks had been impressive throughout the 1978 season, jostling with the Sea Eagles and Western Suburbs Magpies at the top of the Winfeld Cup ladder. They faced the Magpies in the final regular season game at Endeavour Field, and Sorensen was sent off for a hit on Kangaroos enforcer Les Boyd.
"I put a shoulder charge on and knocked him over," Sorensen says. "It was a good shot but not that high. But I was sent off by the referee."
Fellow Shark Steve Kneen took out one of the Magpies defenders with a head high tackle that went unseen by the match officials during the same play. Sorensen fronted up to the judiciary the following week, confident video evidence would clear him. But the match footage wasn't released - according to Sorensen because of the consequences for Kneen.
"Steve was in line for the Kangaroos tour that year but a suspension might have ruled him out," Sorensen says. "So they didn't release the video. It might have cleared me, but it felt like someone wanted to protect him. I learned a lot from that; basically don't trust anybody."
How hard was it missing the 1978 grand final through suspension?
I was young at the time and just thought I would get plenty of other chances. But I never did get a grand final and it remains the biggest disappointment of my life… it still haunts me. That was the year of the infamous Manly ‘fix’ and there was a lot of rotten things going on as Manly won the title. I went to the first grand final, which finished a draw, but felt like an idiot just watching. The replay was midweek and I didn’t go because I had to work but it was just as well - Manly smashed us.
Did you try fighting the charge at judiciary?
I was sent off for elbowing (Wests forward) Les Boyd but it was actually the best shoulder charge you will ever see. We had video of the incident but my own club wouldn’t let me use it, because in the background at the same moment, (Sharks team-mate) Steve Kneen hits another Wests player with a massive elbow to the head. Cronulla officials told me if the League saw the video, I would get off but it would cost Steve a spot in the Kangaroo tour. So I got suspended, but he made the Kangaroo team - but it was little consolation.