Sharks put the bite into sorry Souths - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks put the bite into sorry Souths

Ian McCullough 03/07/2011 05:37:48 PM Comments (0)

After two seasons of pain Cronulla are daring to dream of the NRL finals.

An impressive 26-4 win over a disappointing South Sydney on Sunday sealed a third successive win for the resurgent Sharks for the first time since 2009.

It was also the first time since they last reached the finals in 2008 that Cronulla have posted 20 points or more in three straight matches as they moved to within two points of the top eight.

The victory was even more impressive given inspirational captain Paul Gallen was missing due to State of Origin commitments and powerhouse prop Kade Snowden was sidelined with a neck injury.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan hailed his players' performance.

"It's a massive boost for the playing group and their confidence, that they can go out there and play like that without Gal and without Snowy," Flanagan said.

"Our playing group knows what Gal brings to the team ... his metres, his contribution to the game, his defence, what he is to the Sharks.

"They know what an integral part he is to our team but they all stood up.

"It proves we are a good team and not just one individual."

A double to Matt Wright and four-pointers for Colin Best, Luke Douglas and Chad Townsend sealed the win for the hosts, with Souths' only points coming through Nathan Merritt early in the second half.

Flanagan revealed Gallen had rang him from Sydney airport as he was about to board a flight to Brisbane for Wednesday's Origin decider, 10 minutes before the end of the game to express his delight at the side's display.

"He was pretty excited on the telephone, he was here at training on (the previous) Sunday just to say goodbye," Flanagan said.

"He must have been getting some running commentary or scores through his phone.

"He's pretty excited about the result and how convincingly we won."

Despite admitting making the top eight had crossed his mind, Flanagan insisted it would be a big task for his team to achieve.

"We're closer to the bottom than we are to the top so we still need to work really hard and keep chipping away," he said.

"Our goal is to make the eight but there's lot of games between now and then and we need to win the majority of (them)."

Douglas dedicated the win to Gallen and said it was a big psychological boost to win without him and Snowden.

"We got them in the middle which is what we wanted to do and it was good to give something back to Gal, who puts in every week," Douglas told AAP.

"Everyone says we can't attack, but we are starting to score some tries and it is awesome to see. I just hope we can keep it going as we need to, to stay in touch, it is quite tight around the top eight so we have to keep this run going."

Souths coach John Lang admitted his team were beaten by the better side and said his players were flat following last week's win over Brisbane in Perth.

"We were as flat as tacks. We were never in the game at any stage. You have these days. We went from probably our best performance last week to one of our worst," Lang said.

"We just didn't have the drive and energy. I kept waiting and hoping it would kick in.

"You can go from a high to a low. We've just got to put that game behind us. It just happens some days."

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