Sharks reinvigorated by Storm win in NRL
Cronulla's backs-to-the-wall win over Melbourne could be the victory that springboards their NRL season, coach John Morris says.
Friday night's defeat of rivals Melbourne ensured the Sharks would go 4-4 through the opening third of the season, despite having been forced to play without a number of their big names.
Shaun Johnson, Matt Moylan, Wade Graham and Aaron Woods all missed the win through injury, while Josh Dugan and Paul Gallen have also spent time on the sidelines this season.
But after they were trounced by Brisbane last week while even more injury-ravaged, Morris believed their most impressive win of the year so far against the Storm could reignite his Sharks.
"Yeah I think (it can be a springboard) ... We've been a little clunky. If we had dropped that one we would have been one from our last five," Morris said.
"We had to put our foot down and get a victory. We had to beat someone who was at the top of the ladder.
"Not one error in the second half. That's what it takes to beat the Melbourne Storm. They're a great club. Super effort."
Equally impressive is the talent the Sharks have uncovered this year with their existing starts off the pitch.
Fullback Matt Moylan isn't due back for another fortnight at the earliest, while Johnson, Woods and Graham will all return over the next two months.
However playmaker Kyle Flanagan had his best game in the NRL so far against Melbourne, while second-rower Briton Nikora looks the rookie of the year and Braden Hamlin-Uele, Bronson Xerri and Blayke Brailey have all impressed.
"They're starting to show this is where they belong," said Morris, who previously coached most the youngsters in under-20s.
"Last year was a different type of experience for them. They just had to hang in and it was an experience for them to come away with their tails between their legs and turn around quickly.
"They're all first graders ... There are going to be some big calls when the other boys are back, there is going to be some competition for spots.
"Whilst they've got the jumper they've got to do everything they can to hold onto it."
© AAP 2019