Sharks coach Shane Flanagan says the Roosters would have made the finals if the 17 players that took the field on Monday night had been there all season.
The Roosters produced some of their best form of 2016 to push the table-topping Sharks all the way before conceding a late try to go down 32-20 at Allianz Stadium.
The win was Cronulla's 14th on the trot, while the defeat was the Roosters' fifth in a row, but you wouldn't have known had you watched the 80 minutes in isolation.
It was a game that could have gone either way, and the Roosters will count themselves unlucky after they had had two tries disallowed in the second half; although their coach refused to blame the decisions for the result.
Flanagan said it was one of those nights where everything seemed to go right for his side, while luck evaded their opponents.
"The Roosters are a good footy side and they played really well tonight," he said.
"If they had that team together the whole year, they'd be playing semi-finals. They're big, they're powerful [and if they had] Mitchell Pearce all year, they'd be playing semi-finals.
"Things didn't go right for the Roosters [tonight]. (Daniel) Tupou gets that ball down nine out of 10 times. That's what happens when you're down the bottom of the table and you're scrapping for competition wins.
"It just didn't seem to go their way and I feel for them. I've been there…it's going our way at the moment."
Flanagan admitted his side were off their game on Monday night, producing the sort of uncharacteristic errors that they've avoided so far this season.
The Sharks completed just 69 per cent of their sets and gave away nine penalties, but in spite of their indiscretions, managed to leave Allianz Stadium with the two competition points.
Paul Gallen knew the dangers of taking on a side with their season on the line, and like his coach, was just happy to be heading back to the Shire with a win.
"We got the win, which is what we needed to do, but you've got to give the Roosters some credit," the Sharks skipper said.
"They came here with a lot of attitude and had their best side that they've probably had on the field all year.
"They went into camp and this was make-or-break for [for them]. They still had a chance to make the semis if they won tonight and won the rest of their games.
"You look at their line-up on paper and they're a fair side. To our credit we hung in and got the win."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson dished out his own form of praise after the game, describing the Sharks as one of the top two teams in 2016.
"I feel like Melbourne and Cronulla are out there on their own at the moment," he said.
"I think North Queensland will pop their head up soon after Origin, and possibly Brisbane as well.
"Melbourne are probably the best team at the moment on statistics and all that, but Cronulla know how to win. They just get around the park and they've found lots of ways to win. There's a huge confidence in their team and a lot of experience."