Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan was not surprised by the drastic swing in momentum during the two halves of his team's Saturday night win over the North Queensland Cowboys.
The Sharks dominated the first half 24-6, before being unable to find the white line in the second half while the Cowboys scored two tries.
Flanagan was happy with his side's first half aggression, but expected the Cowboys to come back out firing in the second stanza given their performances in the last three weeks.
"We were pretty good in the first half, I was real happy at half-time, we had a bit of aggression in everything we did," Flanagan said.
"The Cowboys have fought really hard for the last three weeks and I've been really impressed with their fighting spirit. They've had some players out, we all know about that, but they haven't given in in any of their games in the last three weeks.
"They haven't gotten the results but I think the coach will be pretty happy with effort and attitude and commitment."
For Flanagan's Sharks the two points are made even sweeter by taking them from the Cowboys in North Queensland, and jumping back into the top four just two weeks out from finals.
Despite the victory captain Paul Gallen sees the win as a start to putting in more consistent performances as they head into the finals.
"We had a win in North Queensland, it's always hard to come up here and have a win against [the Cowboys], the first half was great and it's a stepping stone in the right direction," Gallen said.
"We ran harder than them, broke tackles, had the arms free at times and got some offloads, I thought maybe we pushed them a little bit too much when we got to that lead we probably threw a couple and came up with errors but all in all I'm pretty happy with that."
Despite having the opportunity to mount an embarrassing score-line against the Cowboys Gallen wasn't concerned that his side failed to cross the try-line in the second half.
"Momentum always changes in games, very few games where you go on to score 30 or 40 points unless you're really consistent for the 80 minutes and to the Cowboys credit they hung in there," he said.