Cronulla Sharks avoid unwanted record - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cronulla Sharks avoid unwanted record

By David Beniuk 03/04/2010 10:41:10 PM Comments (0)

Tim Smith may not be Cronulla's saviour, but the Sharks are not the worst team in the history of the NRL either.

Smith stressed over and again at his unveiling this week that he could not single-handedly resurrect the Sharks, who were staring down the barrel of equalling the worst losing streak in NRL history, 14 games, at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night.

But, as Smith made his debut for his new club against his old one, the Sharks' 11-0 upset of Parramatta avoided an unwanted place in the history books alongside the Western Suburbs sides of 1998-99.

Cronulla won the only way they know how - ugly - against an even uglier Eels in an error-riddled game played, at times, in driving rain in front of 13,213 diehards who revelled in signing the team song - which coach Ricky Stuart joked he had forgotten - for the first time since round 15 last year.

Smith, playing his first NRL game since early 2008, survived a first half head clash with Parramatta lock Feleti Mateo to show he will improve the Sharks' kicking game - booting an 80th minute field goal - although his passing game looked rusty on occasions.

"(The knock) got me pretty good," Smith said.

"I can't really remember hardly anything."

Stuart said Smith had already shown he will bring a genuine halfback's game to the struggling club.

"I thought he was really good for some players around him," Stuart said.

"He was good for Trent (Barrett). He (Barrett) feels he gets a bit more time and space as good players give you.

"He's a quality player. The ability of his passing game gives us another lift in quality.

" ... He's not a manufactured half. He's a typical half."

Barrett said the players had done it tough in the lead-up to the game.

"It's hard. No one likes losing and you don't like to read newspapers or listen to the media but it's hard when it's tossed up in the paper all week," he said.

"We were pretty determined as we have been all week."

Cronulla's Indigenous All Star winger Blake Ferguson bagged a second half double and was flattened by a Fuifui Moimoi cheap shot which left the Eels front-rower on report.

After a scoreless arm-wrestle of a first half, Cronulla,whose side included four former Eels, finally opened the scoring in the 44th minute.

A great offload from second-rower Grant Millington allowed Trent Barrett to send a cut-out ball to Ferguson.

It was 8-0 ten minutes later when a Ben Pomeroy bust sent Ferguson careering away for his second before Smith added a 61st minute penalty goal to make it 10-0.

"We had lot of desire but we are out of form," Eels coach Daniel Anderson said.

"We are trying as hard as we can to find some form."

Veteran Sharks winger Luke Covell was carried from the field in the 32nd minute with a suspected ACL injury to his right knee.

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