Shepherd back to earth with a thud
From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, interim coach James Shepherd has felt the full spectrum of coaching in the NRL in just two games at the helm of the Sharks.
Off the back off their miraculous 30-28 comeback win over the Roosters last weekend, Shepherd's school of Sharks went down 30-18 to the Newcastle Knights after being up 18-0 in the first half.
With Shepherd now having a taste of coaching in the top-grade, he is not privy to how long he will remain as first-grade coach, noting that it isn't bothering him in the slightest before claiming above all that he is "just doing his job".
"The second half today wasn't that enjoyable obviously but as far as my job goes it has been made easy by the players to be quite frank. They are very supportive of what I've been doing and I'm just trying to push them in the right direction," Shepherd said.
"The leadership of Wade [Graham], [Jeff] Robson and all those boys when Gal has been away has been exceptional and using John Morris [as an assistant coach] has been great.
"I've loved it. It has been an honour and a privilege to coach the club for this period of time and I'm happy to do so for as long as they want me too."
With the Knights recording a victory over Cronulla and the Raiders getting over the Titans on Sunday afternoon, the Sharks now sit on the bottom of the ladder alone though Shepherd maintained that they will be doing the best they can do to win as many games as possible.
"They are a bunch of really proud and experienced players who know that circumstances haven't been good this year but they are going to rip in until the end of the season and when they get it right they play good footy," Shepherd said.
"Obviously nobody wants to win the wooden spoon. None of this playing group wants to win the spoon so it is about getting our heads back into footy and doing the best they can and getting as many wins as they can to avoid it. It doesn't need to be spoken about that much because any player in any sport deep down never wants to finish last."
Despite disruptions throughout the year, Sharks vice-captain Wade Graham maintained that the playing group has remained solid in spite of their well-documented dramas in 2014.
"We have Lewie and we have Gal back from Origin. We have Fifita back who is only going to get better for the run. We're a week by week proposition and the players are comfortable with that," Graham said.
"We have been dealing with distractions for two years now so we'll keep turning up and playing football and although we weren't good enough [against the Knights] we'll go out next week and try our best."