The Wests Tigers inflicted more pain on Cronulla after their torrid week by storming home to register a 28-16 win at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night.
After trailing by six at half-time, Michael Maguire's men held the Sharks scoreless in the second stanza to collect their second victory in three rounds.
Cronulla were valiant given the distraction that Bronson Xerri's shock provisional suspension for failing an ASADA drugs test would have had in the lead-up to the match.
Veteran centre Josh Dugan stepped up in Xerri's place, scoring two tries in his return from a knee injury that had some questioning his future in the pre-season.
A soft try to David Nofoaluma when the scores were level with 17 minutes remaining broke Cronulla's back. Collecting a drop-out, the winger burst through flimsy tackle attempts from Chad Townsend and Dugan to complete a 40-metre try.
Nofoaluma just makes it look easy
Townsend left the field in the 67th minute with an apparent hamstring problem. Matt Moylan returned for the Sharks in an interchange role, though his inclusion was offset by the late withdrawal of star prop Andrew Fifita due to a calf strain.
The Tigers gained early bragging rights, with new hooker Harry Grant taking only five minutes to make his mark with a try after a slick dummy and offload by halfback Luke Brooks.
Grant roaring already for Wests Tigers
A shrewd captain's challenge led to the Tigers' second four-pointer. After referee Adam Gee ruled a handover to the Sharks, Benji Marshall successfully reviewed the tackle count and the Tigers restarted proceedings with one play left in the set.
They made it a good one. Marshall's towering kick caused Sharks fullback William Kennedy to lose the ball in an aerial contest with Brooks, before Moses Mbye picked up the scraps and put George Jennings over in the corner.
Aided by a couple of penalties, Cronulla hit back in the 16th minute when Dugan pounced on an inch-perfect grubber from captain Wade Graham, who enhanced his reputation as the game's most skilful back-rower.
A few minutes later and again Graham finished off a backline shift to send Dugan into the in-goal, this time serving up a lovely cut-out pass.
Riding the momentum, Cronulla turned the screws by forcing a few repeat sets, but they bombed a try when Johnson threw a forward pass to the unmarked Ronaldo Mulitalo.
Moylan entered the fray for the Sharks 10 minutes before half-time in a roving lock role.
Match: Sharks v Wests Tigers
Round 3 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Another piece of Graham magic almost resulted in a spectacular Cronulla try. His daring grubber on half-way was scooped up by a flying Sione Katoa, who kicked inside for Kennedy. But a terrific Luke Garner tackle stopped the brilliant sequence from appearing on year-end highlight reels.
It only delayed the inevitable, however, as Kennedy burst through a gap close to the line moments later to notch his maiden NRL try.
Kennedy try gives Cronulla the lead
The Tigers looked set to score the first points of the second half, but an Adam Doueihi forward pass meant a try went begging.
They bridged the gap to two points in the 54th minute when Nofoaluma streaked down the right touchline before linking with Garner, who held off the cover defence.
Garner finishes off right side raid
A Marshall penalty goal locked the scores before Nofoaluma got on the board with his line-break off a drop-out. A barge-over try to prop Josh Aloiai and an Mbye penalty goal capped the win.