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Advantage Sharks, right?

Cronulla's comprehensive 30-6 victory over Newcastle in their trial at Maitland last Saturday surely gave the Sharks a significant psychological edge in the build-up to the round-one rematch between the two teams at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 15.

That would be the logical conclusion to draw, considering the ease of their triumph.

Wade Graham, who is still recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, was a spectator.

Fellow team leaders Paul Gallen, Andrew Fifita, Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan joined him on the sidelines after half-time, having showered and changed into polo shirts and training shorts.

New signings Josh Morris and Shaun Johnson joined them during the second half.

Johnson, in his first game for the Sharks, combined well with Moylan, Dugan and halfback Chad Townsend as Cronulla created three tries on the edges and scored two more up the middle.

Even with their second-string side on the field for most of the second half, Cronulla conceded only one try against a Newcastle side that made far too many handling errors to be competitive.

Match Highlights: Knights v Sharks

But first-year Sharks coach John Morris, whose 14-year playing career began at the Knights, said that result would count for nothing and there would be no room for complacency when the teams meet again in Newcastle in the opening round of the Telstra Premiership.

The durable former utility played two seasons for the Knights and made many trips back to Newcastle as a member of visiting teams with Parramatta, Wests Tigers and Cronulla.

"[Complacency] was the one word I wrote on my sheet when I was in the coach's box after the game, so I'll make sure they won't be," Morris told the media after full-time last Saturday.

"I know what it's like to come up to Newcastle and play this team, let alone in round one. They'll be wanting to start with a bang and it will be a packed house and it will be a lot different to today.

"I won't be surprised with the intensity they turn up with, and I'll make sure we bring ours as well.

"There will be competition points up for grabs so it all becomes real."

Morris praises Sharks' commitment

After being thumped 26-6 by Parramatta in the corresponding trial at Maitland last year, the Knights rebounded to pip Manly 19-18 in extra time in their first game of the NRL season. The Eels went down 24-14 to Penrith in their season-opener and went on to finish the year as wooden-spooners.

Knights coach Nathan Brown lamented his team's error count, and the two tries conceded through the ruck, but believed his forwards more than held their own against the experienced Sharks pack.

"Last year here [against Parramatta] we got beaten up physically, and the last three years we've played Cronulla, they beat us up physically, but that wasn't the case today," Brown said.

"We actually physically rolled down the field really well and for fair periods, I thought we handled them OK, but we gave them far too many opportunities."

Knights captain Mitchell Pearce read nothing into the result, other than the need to get back to training "and reinforce what wins footy games".

"If anything, as a leader, I'm feeling excited more for round one after that," said Pearce, who kicked the winning field goal against Manly in a fairytale Newcastle debut.

"It wasn't ideal, we're not happy about it, and we've got to go back to the drawing board and get ready for round one."

Klemmer laments Knights errors

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