Sharks v Knights: Five key points

Knights surprise the premiers but can't get the win as Valentine Holmes produces the highlight and Chris Heighington celebrates game 300 with a win.

Emotional day for everyone

While the celebrations were in line with Chris Heighington's 300th appearance in the Telstra Premiership, the scenes pre-match during the minute silence for Sharnie Kimmorley put rugby league a distance second.

With former Shark Brett Kimmorley and his four daughters in attendance, the show of support for the family throughout the day made the occasion all the more special and the level of respect from the crowd and players was all class. 

The Sharks got across the line for Heighington, with Sharks coach Shane Flanagan indicating the veteran "looked 21 again" out there against the Knights.

Knights struggle with clutch ending

Despite the Knights levelling at 18-all with seven minutes left, you just got the feeling the luck of the Novocastrians was about to run out as the side continues to build on experiencing the highs and lows. 

Knights coach Nathan Brown said his team's game management was not at its best and contributed to the loss, but was not prepared to single anyone out. 

"[Cronulla's] game management was really strong. Sometimes our plays before our kicks were not the best plays that didn't allow us to get them into uncomfortable situations," Brown said.

"I wouldn't want to single anyone personally because I think everyone would agree all the players today give their heart and soul, but I'm sure when each individual looks at their game."

Rd 5 Press Conference: Knights

 
Holmes fullback position confirmed

A stunning try from the Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes in the second half showed why the club have him pencilled in for the No.1 spot for years to come. The 21-year-old was on fire in attack and finished with 207 metres from 19 carries and included an 80-metre four-pointer when he linked with Sharks centre Jack Bird in the 53rd minute.

He also threw a Darius Boyd-style cut-out pass for the Sosaia Feki four-pointer in another show of his ball-play ability at the back.

The only downfall to Holmes' game was the error that enabled Knights winger Jacob Gagan to get the ball down and level the game at 18-all.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said while the Australian international showed signs of class, there was room for improvement.

"I know he can do that stuff, but it's the other staff we need to work hard on," Flanagan said.

"It's OK to run the length but there's some work to do in other areas as well."

Knights bounce back and surprise

Most predicted the game would be a one-sided affair on the back of the last two encounters between the two sides in 2016, with the Knights conceding 98 points in those 160 minutes.

But after conceding 40 unanswered points against the Panthers last week, the visitors produced a much-improved defensive performance with veteran Sharks back-rower Luke Lewis praising how far the rebuilding club had come.

"It just goes to show what Browny (Nathan Brown) has done with that side; he's done a great job and the players are playing for each other," Lewis said.

"Newcastle really made us pay and credit to them.

"We were just lucky Jimmy slotted that field goal."

Sharks struggling at home

Despite the one-point win, the Sharks have struggled to make the Shire a fortress in their last three fixtures at the venue after coming up short against the Broncos in Round 1 and the Dragons in the local derby. 

On the flipside, their performances against the Raiders and Eels away from home this year have been outstanding.

Cronulla's next appearance on home turf will be in Round 8 against the Titans, a side they've beaten six times in nine games at the venue.

"It wasn't our best performance at home," Flanagan said.

"We should have put it to bed a couple of times there.

"There was a couple of line-breaks there that we just couldn't find the right hands at the end."

Rd 5 Press Conference: Sharks