Sharks v Dragons: Five key points

Sharks begin to find consistency, and the Dragons still compete despite missing a host of stars. The key points to come from Cronulla's Round 18 derby win.

Report: Sharks hammer Dragons in derby

 

Cronulla show their best football… in patches

With one of the best rosters in the NRL, the Cronulla Sharks have been improving, but still have a lot of room to grow in this year's Telstra Premiership.

Against the Dragons on Sunday afternoon they showed some of their best football, but only for limited periods of time.

"In patches I thought we did [play our best] today," Shane Flanagan said. 

"There were some real periods where we were showing our dominance. 

"We were going 100 meters some sets.

"I can't wait until we put 80 minutes together, we haven't done that all year. We're getting closer every week."

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen also had a bittersweet feeling about his side showing glimpses of their potential.

"As 'Flanno' said we play in patches," Gallen said.

"We get to a lead and we don't stick to our game plan.

"If we just stick to it as we saw in those first 20-25 minutes we were really good."

 

 

Dragons still in the game despite key omissions

With a huge injury toll for Sunday afternoon's games, the Dragons did well to be able to compete with their opponents for so long.

"It [injuries] have a huge effect on the cohesion with your attack and your defence," Dragons coach Paul McGregor said. 

"And you know having 13 of our top 25 out, it doesn't help at all. 

"But I still thought that after half-time we had a good regroup and went about our business and for 25 minutes we played with intent and intensity.

"We competed on every play and made everything a contest and we were right in the fight.

"The big fella (Ben Creagh) got tackled right on the line, Leeson Ah Mau got held up over the line, you score one of them you're back 16-10 and you're really back in the game and we'd done that through a lot of intent."

Flanno empathises with Dragons' injury woes

While the Dragons were missing a host of key players, Shane Flanagan certainly didn't want his team taking it easy on them.

"We've been on the reverse side of that particularly last year," he said. 

"When I was watching our team run out there I didn't even know some of the players in our team." 

"But no one gave pity on us or gave us a few competition point start. 

"The Dragons were understrength today but we had to make sure that we got the competition points." 

Dragons need to find their tough footy again

They were in a similar position after losing the opening two games of this year's NRL season, and now the Dragons need to learn how to win again after losing five straight.

"We're in a tough position but we've put ourselves there," Creagh said.

"Unfortunately at this level trying hard is not good enough.

"That's what we're doing at the moment we're trying hard but we're not competing hard enough like we were earlier in the season. 

"We're not playing that tough gritty footy that we played before, but luckily for this side we're not still searching for it, we've done it and we know how to do it."

 

 

Barba tackle a game-changer

With Michael Gordon going off for a concussion test at the start of the second half, Ben Barba got an opportunity earlier than usual to make his mark on the game.

But none would have thought that mark was going to be made with a massive tackle.

"I think it was really important at the time," Flanagain said. 

"I think it was 16-4 and if they score there it's 16-10 and their confidence would have gone through the roof.

"I think it was a real important moment, players like Benny come up with those types of things. 

"Disappointed they got a penalty from it. I thought it was a really nice tackle. One-on-one had to make it."