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Cronulla Sharks vice-captain Wade Graham has hit back at claims from Penrith coach Ivan Cleary that he took a dive in the dying moments of his side's 24-20 win against the Panthers.

With 58 seconds left on the clock, the Panthers appeared to cross the line through Dean Whare to snatch a late victory, but it was deemed by video referees Steve Chiddy and Ben Galea that Adam Docker impeded Graham in the process of the centre scoring.

Graham insisted he was impeded, regardless of what Cleary thought.

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"It was an obstruction. You can't run into another player's line. You have to catch a ball outside of the man, so I was impeded and the ref seen it that way," Graham said.

"[Ivan's] not out there with us, he clearly ran into my line and I can't run through him – if that's Ivan's opinion, that's Ivan's opinion."

While Graham was adamant that it wasn't a try, his coach was more certain about his vice-captain's NSW Origin chances in the coming weeks.

"You'd like to think so. He can play back-rower, he can play in the middle, he can play centre like he did today and he can play six as well. He brings a lot to the table and he's a footy player – he knows his way around the park," Sharp said.

With the Sharks winning only their second game of the season against the Panthers, Sharp has described his side's latest victory as the win that their season needed.

"It was a massive game for us and we knew that and it was in the face of adversity a lot of times so we scrapped pretty well and came away with a win. So we can draw breathe for a little bit and regroup for our next game," Sharp said.

"They never ever go out on the field not to try. Sometimes things don't work out for them for whatever reasons. I think the last two weeks they've fought really hard and we're a team that if we fight hard we can get a few results and that's the nature of our footy team – we're scrappers."

With several injuries compounding an otherwise positive showing from the Sharks - including a hamstring injury to star playmaker Todd Carney, the severity of which remains unclear - Sharp has compared his side's latest edition of season 2014 as one with many ups-and-downs.

"It was a rollercoaster wasn't it? It was a rollercoaster in the warm-up when we lost Jono Wright so the whole day was a bit like that," Sharp said.

"It was very courageous, we hung in there, worked hard for each other and at times we had blokes all over the shop on the edges so they worked very hard for each other and it's nice to get a result."

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