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Pressure on bottom-eight Sharks after Dugan, Morris injuries

The Sharks lost a further two key players to injury when they went down to the Storm on Saturday night, but rookie coach John Morris is confident he still has the personnel to turn his side's faltering season around.

Josh Dugan (hamstring) and Josh Morris (broken nose) were the latest players added to the Sharks already crippling injury list when they fell to a fourth consecutive loss in Cameron Smith's record-breaking 400th match in Melbourne.

The Sharks now find themselves a win outside the eight with the race for a place in the finals starting to heat up, but Morris believes there is still plenty of time for his side to get their season back on track.

"We are one win from turning it around, that's how close the competition is," the Sharks coach said after the 40-16 loss to the Storm.

"I know we have slipped out of the top eight and we are probably paying the price for a couple of close losses where we did enough to win.

"We have got a pretty good draw for the back-end of the year with five of seven at home, so it gives us a bit of belief if we can get this first one out of the way."

Sharks: Round 17

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The Sharks have little time to lick their wounds as they fly to New Zealand next round for a tricky match-up against a Warriors side also chasing a finals berth.

Morris said Dugan would be an unlikely starter for the trip across the Tasman, while experienced duo Matt Moylan and Wade Graham also remain in doubt with hamstring issues.

"It is a bit of a hospital ward in there at the moment," John Morris said.

"We go to Warriors next week and we have got to find a way to win."

Morris was forced to defend Dugan following the match, with former Broncos great Gordon Tallis suggesting the injury-plagued veteran had to make a call on his future.

But Morris was steadfast in his defence of the experienced back and believes Dugan's best form is equal to any centre in the game.

"Dugas has been real solid this year," Morris aid.

"If you look at the centres in the game and compare their stats, Josh Dugan is right up the top.

"In carrying the ball, his ability to break tackles, score tries, break the line, he is ranked as high as any centre in the game.

"He only played 12 games last year and he has played all but one game this year.

"I have been impressed with him and he has really given his something."

Match Highlights: Storm v Sharks

Morris revealed Dugan went into the Storm clash under an injury cloud of his own and even needed a painkiller to run out for the contest.

"He shouldn't have played today," the Sharks coach said.

"He was playing with a busted back he got needled before he went out today.

"People don't see all that.

"People don't see what players are going through in the background and what they are doing on the field."

 

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