Club records were as broken as Newcastle Knights fans' hearts following the Sharks' huge 62-0 win on Sunday afternoon – a day where wingers Valentine Holmes and Sosaia Feki combined for seven tries.
Holmes could have been great in Origin
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan called it 'natural instinct' when describing Holmes' four-try haul against the Knights.
Perhaps a positive for Flanagan is that Holmes is unavailable for Origin selection after a bonding session misdemeanour while in Emerging Origin camp in Queensland earlier this year.
Either way Holmes was the star of the show at Hunter Stadium where his four tries were complemented by a double century of metres and eight tackle breaks.
Historic day for both clubs
The Sharks 62-0 win is the equal-biggest winning margin in their history.
Their 68-6 win over the Sea Eagles in 2005 remains special, but considering they kept the Knights scoreless this time around makes it an even more impressive feat.
"It was a focus of ours [keeping them to zero] especially as the game went on. The 60 is great but the other end was really important as well," Flanagan said.
"We concentrated in on defending our try-line with desperation. There were plenty of quality tackles in those last five to 10 minutes which is a sign of a good defensive team."
The win will also feature on the Knights' record books for a while yet.
Their loss to the Sharks is their second-worst flogging in Knights history and comes not even a month after they were beaten 53-0 by the Broncos. The 62-point shellacking is also their worse loss ever at Hunter Stadium.
Sharks' seventh heaven
Winning six games straight prior to last weekend's representative round, Flanagan was fairly cautious heading to Newcastle.
Flanagan said he challenged his players mentally to make an example of the Knights upon half of his team's return from their rep duties.
Using the old adage that 'there's no easy games in the NRL' Flanagan approached this one as a "danger game" for his side.
"We needed to make sure we focused and had no distractions. I know the score blew out there in the end but it's not too often there's an easy game in the NRL if you don't mentally prepare," he said.
"I spoke about it earlier in the week and put some pressure back on the players about how experienced the team is and that we needed to prepare well which we did."
New Cog…ger in Knights' machine
To shed light on the Knights' recent woes look no further than the players they have been forced to blood in 2016.
Jack Cogger's NRL debut against the Sharks will be looked back on with mixed emotions. In the grand scheme of things he was the 10th debutant Knights coach Nathan Brown has used so far this season and the 31st player overall.
To put into perspective, reigning premiers North Queensland have only used Patrick Kaufusi and Javid Bowen outside of last year's grand final winning team.
On top of that – considering Cory Denniss's late inclusion into the side following Nathan Ross's (hamstring) warm-up mishap – Cogger was one of seven kids who played for the Knights who were 20 or under.
Cogger and Denniss are only 18, while Cogger's halves partner Brock Lamb as well as Jacob and Daniel Saifiti and Sione Mata'utia are all only 19. Danny Levi is almost an elder statesmen of the team at just 20.
The loss was a steep learning curve but one that will only help in the development of these youngsters.
"Not to be overly critical to the team we played but they're very inexperienced and there wouldn't be too many blokes that are playing for Newcastle who would make any other first grade side really," an upfront Paul Gallen said post-game.
Gallen (kind of) sympathises with young Knights
On Gallen, if there's one man who knows exactly what the Knights are going through at the moment it would be him.
The 2014 season was one of – if not the – worst season in the Sharks' history. A year where injuries ran rampant, the clipboard was handed around the coaching staff and the ASADA dramas reared its head.
"I have a bit of sympathy for them and their coaching staff obviously," Gallen said. "But at the end of the day they're not my worry. We came here to do a job and we did it."
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