Cowboys send Sharks to the bottom - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cowboys send Sharks to the bottom

By Daniel Brettig 19/04/2009 05:47:49 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart wore the befuddled look of a man who'd forgotten the words of a familiar tune after watching his Sharks slump to the foot of the NRL table with a 34-10 loss to North Queensland at Hindmarsh Stadium.

The Sharks brought their home game to Adelaide in search of greater revenue, but a crowd of 8,547 were left more enthused by the Cowboys, who built on a 6-4 half-time advantage by running home five tries to one in the second half.

Shannon Hegarty, Luke O'Donnell, Willie Tonga, Ben Farrar, Matt Bowen and Shane Tronc all crossed for the Cowboys, while Queensland and Test halfback Johnathan Thurston was back to his best as he kicked five of six conversions in a dominant display.

Matthew Wright and Anthony Tupou were the try scorers for Cronulla.

Stuart was unable to hide his frustration after watching his side fall to their fifth defeat in six games.

"We're not building any momentum, we're not creating any foundation, and it's really sad because we're a better footy team than that," said Stuart.

"That's not us out there, I'm dumbfounded, and I feel sorry for them (the players) because they know it's not them too, but it's bloody hard when you've got those statistics and you know you're a better team than that.

"It's no good me coming up with false excuses or pretending, because it's just not there at the moment ... they're training very well, they can't train that way and deliver that.

"We've got to find out the deep-seated issue in regards to why we played like that - respectfully, they (the Cowboys) are not that better a football team than us."

Thurston was as up for the contest as Stuart had feared pre-match, and his vision created numerous attacking forays that fell narrowly short of the tryline.

The Sharks struggled to create any momentum, and it was a genuine surprise when they scored first in the 17th minute.

After Thurston conceded a penalty to give up possession little more than 20m out, Mitch Brown's neat pass allowed Matthew Wright through to open the scoring.

The Cowboys eventually scored six minutes before the interval when Thurston's grubber was latched onto by Hegarty, and the subsequent conversion gave the visitors a 6-4 lead at the interval.

The Cowboys started the second half the stronger with O'Donnell and Willie Tonga darting over for tries.

Cronulla then briefly threatened a comeback when Ben Pomeroy's magic pass opened a route to the line for Tupou, but their next attack saw Luke Covell's try ruled out for obstruction - a decision Stuart deemed as a "fair call".

That setback seemed to deflate the Sharks, and the Cowboys, who had not won since round two when they thumped West Tigers 42-12, ran in three more tries to add some gloss to the scoreline.

"It's a relieved dressing room," said Cowboys coach Neil Henry.

"Our commitment defensively was very good and we showed signs of our attack getting a bit of confidence."

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