Sharks forget woes, focus on finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks forget woes, focus on finals

By Steve Jancetic 30/08/2008 11:06:37 AM Comments (0)

Ricky Stuart, take a bow.

Having vowed to galvanise a Cronulla club which had the heart ripped out of it less than a week ago, Stuart not only brought the Sharks together, but took them to a level they had rarely been at in 2008.

Sure Friday night's 32-6 win was against a Wests Tigers side counting down the minutes till season's end, but there was a certain finals-like attitude in the way they disposed of their opponents.

Not only did it look like the players had put the events surrounding the standing down of Tests star Greg Bird behind them, but those called to step up in his absence - like five-eighth Brett Seymour - actually seemed to thrive on the extra responsibility.

"We had a good chat this week about what's gone on and Ricky got us together ... we're a real tight unit here and that's what makes us play good footy," Seymour said.

"We're happy with the way things are going at the moment."

Happy.

It wasn't the word many were expecting to hear come out of the Sharks camp this week.

But Seymour wasn't alone.

"It was good to be playing in, yeah, it was very enjoyable football," halfback Brett Kimmorley said of the opening 20 minutes in which the Sharks blew the Tigers off the park as they surged to a 20-0 lead.

"Everyone's doing their job ... through everyone being happy and wanting to play footy again, you have a lot of guys in motion."

Stuart was unequivocal in his praise of the Sharks opening to the game, which he feared could go one of two ways.

Not only was the drama surrounding Bird still running through their heads, but there was also the emotion of last week's vital 20-0 drubbing of the Sydney Roosters from which the Sharks had to lift again.

Asked if his side had put on a better attacking display than the one which resulted in three tries being put on to open Friday night's game, Stuart said:

"No we haven't, no."

"We've defended a lot of those, we've won a lot of games this year where we've had to defend a team having so much possession.

"I think we took 20 minutes of (last week's game) into the first part of the game tonight.

"I was worried about a drop-off after a big win, a big pump up last week for that game.

"In regard to the circumstances we had to prepare under this week, only tough people can do that.

"That's why they're a tough bunch of blokes."

Skipper Paul Gallen was put on report for a high tackle on Ryan O'Hara midway through the second half of Friday night's game, but the Tigers prop believes the Test lock has little to worry about in terms of suspension.

"It looked a lot worse than it was, I think the penalty was sufficient," said O'Hara, who only recently returned from a broken jaw.

"I'd hate to see him rubbed out for the finals because of it."

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