Sharks coach Josh Hannay has taken responsibility for his team's costly call not to shoot for a game-tying penalty goal in the 74th minute of Saturday's loss to the Warriors.
Trailing 18-16, Cronulla decided to go for a try after halfback Braydon Trindall's legs were taken out by Chanel Harris-Tavita after he kicked.
With the Warriors already disadvantaged due to Kane Evans being sin-binned for the second time, Hannay relayed a message to keep attacking in a bid to win the match at Cbus Super Stadium.
But five-eighth Connor Tracey's rash decision to grubber early in the tackle count handed the ball back to the New Zealand side.
"The decision to play on - that was from me," Hannay said.
Match Highlights: Warriors v Sharks
"I thought Braydon had missed a [goal] kick from a similar position in the first half and New Zealand were down to 12 men at that time.
"I just backed our guys. Unfortunately, on the back of backing our guys, kicking it on tackle two was not what I was expecting or what we needed. I'll cop whatever comes my way for making that decision.
"But I'd probably make the same decision again. I thought New Zealand were out on their feet, we had a man over. I just thought it was the right decision at the time to back our men to score a try."
In fairness, Cronulla had ample opportunities to bank a crucial victory. Having led 16-6 at the break - scoring in the 37th and 39th minutes after Evans was initially sin-binned for swinging punches at Will Chambers - Hannay felt they lacked composure.
William Kennedy working his wonders just before the break
"We've got a young spine out there at the moment, we're missing some seniority in those positions," Hannay said.
"I think they're trying their backsides off, our guys, but I thought we looked a little bit frantic and flustered out there when we had some good-ball opportunity, particularly in that second half when they were down to 12 men."
Now in 10th place, two points outside the top eight, the Sharks will now face the eighth-placed Knights currently, in a clash that could determine whether Cronulla makes the finals.
In the meantime, Hannay confirmed he will be on the lookout for loan players considering Cronulla's injury toll.
"We're definitely in the market in terms of loan players and we'll be making some calls in the coming days," he said.
"[But] whoever we bring in, they're not going to be season-savers, if you like. They're not going to be superstars. We need to find people who can add depth to our squad.
"We're really lacking in depth at the moment. We're pretty thin."
Given Shaun Johnson's campaign was ended by a hamstring injury, the Sharks desperately badly need the experienced playmaking of Matt Moylan, who has beenout since round 15 due to a calf complaint.
Evans in the bin again, this time for a head slam on Chambers
"He's getting closer. He's as frustrated as anyone. He's working extremely hard. He's just got to a point with his soft-tissue recovery where it's stopped improving at the rate we all hope," Hannay said.
"He's desperate to get back out there and we're doing everything we can with him to get him right.
"Fingers crossed he's available next week."