Wests Tigers v Sharks: Five key points
Injuries cruel the Wests Tigers as James Maloney owns a statistic to forget in the Sharks' 22-16 victory at Leichhardt Oval.
Injuries cruel Tigers
Key injuries to James Tedesco and Aaron Woods may give Wests Tigers fans an early insight into the future without the duo, but the joint venture were also left without the in-form David Nofoaluma at full capacity throughout the game.
"[Woods] is going for scans so it's obviously not great but we will find out more tonight. He'd be a 1000-1 chance [for the Test match] but I'm not a doctor," Tigers coach Ivan Cleary said post-game.
"[Nofoaluma] was on one leg for the whole game and he said he had the same thing last year so around the medial ligament he got a knock.
"We really missed a guy like him [at 100 percent], he makes such a difference giving us a good start to our sets."
Maloney's ill discipline
Everybody knows James Maloney is one to get under the opposition's skin and particularly now that former partner in crime Michael Ennis has retired. However coach Shane Flanagan would be less than thrilled with Maloney's current rap sheet of 19 penalties conceded by the Australian international after nine rounds of the Telstra Premiership season.
The penalty count was 7-2 in favour of the Tigers with goals resulting from penalties conceded by Maloney resulting in four points to Wests goal-kicker Mitchell Moses.
Maloney's high shot on James Tedesco late in the first half ruled his Blues teammate out for the remainder of the contest and could come under scrutiny despite not being placed on report.
Sharks second-half defence holds again
It was brought up earlier in the week in NRL.com's match preview that Cronulla rank second behind Melbourne for the fewest tries conceded in the second half of games and the defending premiers again showed a tough grit in defence to turn the Wests Tigers away in the latter stages of the match.
While the Sharks bounced back after their shock loss to the Gold Coast Titans last weekend, their win over the Tigers was less than impressive.
"I'm happy we got the competition points, it's one of those things where if you want to be successful during the year then sometimes you're going to have those games," Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said post-game.
"It's 50/50 for me, I'm not happy with our performance but we got the two points. Good footy teams win ugly every now and then.
"We can fix [our completion rate] in a week."
Graham delivers again
Another strong performance from Wade Graham should see the 26-year-old very hard to leave out from future representative games over the coming weeks.
After being overlooked by Mal Meninga for Australia, Graham responded to produce two try assists and a strong defensive play at the death to help inspire the Sharks to come from behind and secure victory.
While the incumbent Blues back-rower has some competition in the forward pack with Boyd Cordner and Tyson Frizell also starting the season strongly, it would be a very brave move from Laurie Daley to follow Meninga's lead and leave the Sharks No.12 out of his side.
Woods' sombre return to Leichhardt
It was a terrible night for the Aaron Woods with the 26-year-old greeted by an echo of angry fans pre-game when his name flashed up on the big screen.
If the hamstring injury wasn't enough to add salt into the wounds for the Australian international, he was ruled to have brought former Origin teammate Paul Gallen down at marker resulting in a James Tedesco four-pointer being disallowed in the first half.
Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary was less than impressed by Gallen's antics.
"Our game is different to other football codes, one in particularly where we don't condone diving," Cleary said.
"But we did tonight so I'll leave it at that."