The Cronulla Sharks narrowly got away with a 22-20 win over Parramatta on Saturday night, after the Eels scored three tries in five minutes.
The Sharks were dominant for the majority of the match, scoring tries early and maintaining momentum. The Eels came back late in the game, closing the gaps to two points.
The late tries came as a result of an unexpected momentum shift at the end, after a disallowed try to Valentine Holmes, who was one of the best on the night. Cronulla’s defence became weak, which allowed two easy tries. The Eels scrambled to get their third try in the final minutes, but Mitchell Moses missed the game-tying conversion.
Cronulla Need to Work on Finishes
While the Sharks were the better side, they had no control over the game in the final five minutes, and let the Eels have all the possession and advantage. The Sharks finished with no line speed or any signs of effort and were lucky to get the win. The Sharks must learn to hold onto a lead.
Sharks’ Injury Toll Rises
Wade Graham returned to the starting side after weeks on the sideline due to a hamstring injury; however, upon returning Saturday night, he suffered a small tear in his hamstring, which will keep him out for another 3-4 weeks. Forward Scott Sorensen joins the Sharks’ injury list after breaking his hand during the match, leaving the Sharks with little wiggle room in the forwards.
Eels Clicked Too Late
The Eels played their best in the final minutes, scoring three unanswered tries after the Sharks had one disallowed. The Eels maintained possession and momentum which allowed them to significantly close the margin. The Eels are a quality football side who need to work on putting on a full 80 minute performance.
Errors Cause Trouble
One of the few reasons Parramatta struggled on Saturday night was due to errors. Their completion rate was 72 per cent, making 12 errors. The errors assisted the Sharks in gaining momentum and taking control of the match, despite the Eels nearly stealing the victory in the final five minutes.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“Wasn’t a pretty end, but in the end, we got the competition points.” – Shane Flanagan
“We played really good for 72 minutes” – Flanagan
“We have nobody to blame but ourselves” Brad Arthur
Tries: Sosaia Feki 2, Chad Townsend, Edrick Lee
Goals: Townsend 3/5
Tries: Bevan French, David Gower, Michael Jennings, Mitchell Moses
Goals: Moses 2/4