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Harsh reality check for Sharks as Fifita joins long injury list

Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita is in doubt for next week’s clash with the Warriors after joining the club's growing casualty list during Saturday’s 56-24 humbling at the hands of Penrith.

Fifita suffered a hamstring injury and was unable to play in the second half as the Sharks conceded 10 tries in a heavy fall to earth after three consecutive wins.

The Tonga star will undergo scans but Cronulla coach John Morris admitted he was unlikely to be fit for next Sunday’s match against the Warriors at Central Coast Stadium.

“We were trying to monitor him at the back end of the first half but when we did some tests on him at half-time he couldn’t go on with it,” Morris said.

“He will need scans but he couldn’t finish the game so that is a concern for us.

“If you can’t finish the game you would think he would be struggling for the next game.

Match Highlights: Sharks v Panthers

“One-to-two weeks is a good outcome for a hammie but it is not confirmed yet so hopefully it was only precautionary and we get some good scan results."

Fullback Matt Moylan (hamstring) and winger Ronaldo Mulitalo (knee) were already missing from the side that played the Panthers, while Fifita, Bryson Goodwin, Siosifa Talakai and Sione Katoa failed to finish the match.

The loss of Goodwin caused a back-line reshuffle, with Jesse Ramien shifting from right to left centre and second-rower Briton Nikora partnering winger Nene MacDonald.

It was MacDonald’s first NRL match since 2018 and the former St George Illawarra winger had an unhappy debut for the Sharks, with his opposite Charlie Staines scoring four tries.

Injured Sharks prop Andrew Fifita.
Injured Sharks prop Andrew Fifita. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

“We had a bit of adversity but it clearly wasn’t good enough,” Morris said.

“There were reasons around what hurt us today but you are going to have that every week in the NRL and it is about being able to perform under that adversity.

“I just didn’t feel we defended our errors or penalties. Hopefully we will see a bounce back next week.

“I think the way we have played the last three weeks, I’d like to see that 17 go up against a top four team.”

Morris said the Sharks had planned to prevent Penrith from starting well but errors and discipline proved costly.

“It was so disappointing. I think in the first 25 minutes we were three from seven completions and they were 13 from 16 or something ridiculous, and it was 26-0 on the scoreboard,” he said.

“It just took so much out of us and I think it broke us mentally. We found a way to get back in the game and I was happy to be 26-12 at halftime but from the kick off in the second half they rolled us down our end and were the first ones to score.”