Sharks content with underdog status
They are the longest odds to win this year's competition and will carry the underdog tag into battle against the Cowboys up in Townsville on Saturday night, but all of this sits perfectly fine with five-eighth Jack Bird in his first finals series.
In a season where the Sharks (last year's wooden spooners) have gone under the radar despite only just missing out on a top fourth berth, Bird hopes the club uses it to their advantage.
After ironically eliminating last year's premiers South Sydney by 16-points over the past weekend, the Sharks are full of confidence with their status heading into the second week of the finals for the second time in three years.
"We have been the underdogs pretty much all year and I think we like to be the underdogs because when people write us off we like to surprise them. It is good to fly under the radar," Bird told NRL.com.
"Coming into the semi finals in the bottom half of the eight there isn't much pressure there because people don't think we're going to win.
"I mean we have a good team so I don't know why we have been seen as a team who's going to lose easy, we've had players who have played Origin and for their country."
Bird is under no illusions the tough task he and halves partner Jeff Robson have on the weekend despite being undefeated against the Cowboys in 2015; as the first year rookie and the off-contract veteran face off with Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan.
"They're obviously great players and they have both played Origin so we know we're up against it this week and obviously we have beaten them twice this year but we can't take that and think it'll work out to be easy for us,” Bird said.
"They came third and are a great team. I'm guessing they'll want revenge on us but we just need to play like we did on the weekend and I'm sure we'll get the win."
In the meantime the Sharks grew another leg against the Rabbitohs utilising a more free-flowing style of play. Not bogging themselves down with forward interference, Bird and Robson handled with ball more times with positive results.
"We didn't really change our structure as such but it was more a matter of us spreading the ball a lot more which meant us backs managed to get more ball but I was happy with how I went and the amount of ball I got," Bird said.
"Jeff's been around for a while now so he knows what he's doing. I try to take a bit of leadership there to ease pressure on him in my attempts to learn as much as I can of Robbo.
"But he played excellent against Souths and his kicking game was outstanding so if he keeps that up we'll be a chance. He's been real good [for my development]. He's a great player who I try to take his hard work as an example of what needs to be done.
"It was my first final in the NRL so it was good to get the win. We have been training really hard and working in sync as a team really well so there's no surprises there we won I must say."