Sharks coach John Morris joked that he may have had to come out of retirement if a handful of his stars were ruled out of Saturday's 26-16 win over the Cowboys after failing their initial temperature test.
There was drama before kick-off at Queensland Country Bank Stadium when it emerged that up to six Cronulla players including Matt Moylan, Shaun Johnson, Aaron Woods and Toby Rudolf had recorded readings over the 37.2 degree limit per biosecurity protocols.
The players were allowed to enter the venue after their successful second check, but Morris admitted it was a scare as the Sharks could have struggled to field a team given they only had a 20-man squad.
"They were dropping like flies. It was kind of like trying to get into a nightclub when you haven't got your ID - they were all getting turned away," Morris said after his team's first win of the season.
Match Highlights: Cowboys v Sharks
"I was like, 'What's going on here? I'm going to have to pull the boots on'. But I'm not sure what it was. They just had to take 10 or 15 minutes and take their time to cool down in the air con and they all got through.
"I honestly don't know what the game would do if there was five or six [players] like we were today, if they were still over.
"I think it may have had something to do with the testing device. I think they may have changed the device and the readings came down, so maybe it was a faulty device."
Morris praised his lethal right-edge attack for their role in Cronulla's performance, with centre Jesse Ramien and winger Ronaldo Mulitalo scoring two tries apiece, while playmaker Shaun Johnson helped set up four tries.
Mulitalo grabs a double
"I was really happy for them because they've been a bit clunky there at best for most of the season," Morris said.
"And they worked real hard at training this week. They've sort of simplified a lot of their attack and we saw some real nice tries."
Morris said Cronulla carried out a plan to "attack with our defence" and force errors from North Queensland, who completed their sets at just 59 percent.
The build-up to the clash centred on Cowboys gun Valentine Holmes facing his former club for the first time since he left the Sharks to play NFL after the 2018 season, but the fullback's offence was blunted.
"It's lucky for our boys that they kind of know Val's game," Morris said.
"But Val's shown in his career so far that people try and shut him down every week and he still finds a way to open you up. So I was really happy that he didn't hurt us on the scoreboard tonight."