Stand in Sharks skipper Wade Graham says the side copped a hammering before it even took the field against the Dragons. Credit: Grant Trouville. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Given Cronulla's unenviable position at the bottom of the NRL pit in 2014, no other team have had more weeks suffocated by the pain of defeat than those who dwell in the Shire.
But after watching his side succumb to back-to-back shutouts
– it's now 189 minutes of scoreless football (and counting) – stand-in skipper Wade Graham described the past week as being tougher than most.
"I was talking to [coach Peter Sharp] today, I've never seen anything like it," Graham sighed after Cronulla's 30-0 stinker against the Dragons on Saturday night.
"It's like something happened every day. Even the game this week, we lost Bomber [John Morris] one day, the next day we lost Lewie [Luke Lewis], and then game day we find out Goisy's [Isaac De Gois] going to Parra.
"Something happens every day in this joint. It's a new experience. I've never been a part of something quite like this. So [we] just got to keep working through it and keep showing up to training."
There were nine first-graders missing from the line-up Sharp named on Tuesday. Two more in Morris (neck) and Lewis (knee) joined them mid-week, all before winger Beau Ryan's career was brought to an early end on Thursday.
And then on game eve, word leaked out their popular hooker was headed for a mid-season switch to Parramatta.
"I think he tried to keep it quiet and keep the boys focused on the game but it broke in the media so obviously a lot of us knew beforehand," Graham continued.
"When it broke in the media I don't think Isaac had told his parents yet because he wanted to keep it to himself. [And] as youse do, youse find out somehow and we had a chat after the game there.
"Isaac got us all in a group and let us know. None of us begrudge Isaac on what he's going to do. You gotta look after yourself and your family comes first in this game. And we wish him, as friends, all the best."
While there were a couple of positives – debutant five-eighth Fa'amanu Brown showed some neat footwork – the rudderless 30-0 hammering consigned the Sharks to their fourth straight defeat, a demoralising run of losses that will be mercifully paused by next week's bye.
But by the time they return, Sharp reckons that just about every single player sitting on the sidelines on Saturday night – minus the retired Ryan – will be available for their next clash against Manly at home in Round 15.
That list includes captain Paul Gallen (neck), Andrew Fifita (ankle), Todd Carney (hamstring), Jeff Robson (hamstring), Anthony Tupou (knee), Ricky Leutele (knee) and Sosaia Feki (hamstring).
And should that happen – even if he just gets to pencil their names for team-sheet Tuesday – then, in comparison to what has transpired so far in 2014, it'll feel like a mini-victory.
"We just want to be healthy. That's been the sole goal for the last three weeks – to get everybody as healthy as possible," he said.
"And then, you know, let's draw a line in the sand. Let's try and play some positive, good footy in the last 12 or so weeks. We just need to be healthy and that'll put everybody in a better frame of mind, won't it mate?"