Dan Walsh, Staff Writer
Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen has labelled his side a 'rabble' in the wake securing an unwanted piece of rugby league history, with the Sharks 26-0 defeat at the hands of Manly making them the first team to be held scoreless for three consecutive matches in 106 years.
The last points Cronulla scored was in the 52nd minute of their Round 10 loss to the Tigers. Since then they've been held scoreless by the Rabbitohs, Dragons and Sea Eagles, stretching their point-scoring drought to an unprecedented 268 minutes - or almost four and half hours of football.
Looking every bit like an outfit that hasn't scored a point in over a month, the Sharks repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with costly errors when on the attack in Manly's 20 metre zone, while also failing to get the rub of the refereeing green with two tries to winger Sosaia Feki disallowed by questionable decisions.
Speaking after the match Gallen admitted the Sharks, who lost halfback Jeff Robson (hamstring) on the eve of the clash, were sorely lacking in execution against the Sea Eagles. It was an observation clearly shared by many of 13,383 fans who chose to make an early exit from Remondis Stadium rather than watch their side strive in vain for an elusive try in the final minutes.
"I can't imagine what the fans think, because it feels like a rabble out there and I can't imagine what it looks like," said Gallen, who topped the game's tackle count with 43 despite backing up just 72 hours after NSW's Origin triumph on Wednesday.
"We try hard. We get in an arm wrestle with teams, we don't get dominated in the middle or anything, it's just the finer details of the game when we get up their end. We try to push the pass... and we just don't build pressure."
With the Sharks now staring down the barrel of five losses on the trot and 11 defeats from 13 matches this season, coach Peter Sharp was left lamenting his side's inability to make the most of its attacking chances.
"We're just massively down on confidence, and massively down on cohesion in our play," said Sharp.
"Everything that can go wrong is going wrong at the moment. We couldn't get the bounce of the ball again, we had three tries disallowed. But we've made a bit of a rod for our own back, haven't we?"
The Sharks have had a wretched run with injury this season. Gallen, fellow NSW representative Luke Lewis and five eighth Todd Carney returned against the Sea Eagles, only for other key members to go down injured, as Robson and blockbusting prop Andrew Fifita (wrist) did leading into the fixture.
"Without making too many excuses...we're not going to get results until we get people on the park, training together and working together," said Sharp.
"We're trying hard, for me we just need to get personnel on the training park which is not happening on a regular basis at the moment.
"That's the first point for me; to get people back on the park training together."
Sharp was hopeful Robson would be available for the Sharks next clash against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday week, while also indicating Carney, who hobbled through the last few minutes with a leg injury, was not in any serious doubt.