Sharks still weighing up Dragons loss - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks still weighing up Dragons loss

Steve Jancetic 22/07/2011 06:46:29 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla fullback Nathan Gardner concedes the full impact of his side's streak-busting thumping at the hands of St George Illawarra won't be known until after Saturday night's NRL meeting with Newcastle.

The Sharks stormed to the brink of the top eight with four straight wins before running into a resurgent Dragons side on Monday night, the 38-8 loss dragging Cronulla back to earth following an enterprising month.

Now taking on a Knights side which sits just one win above them on the ladder at Toyota Stadium, Gardner said it was vital his side put the WIN Jubilee Oval defeat behind them.

"I guess it's a little hard to say - we probably won't find out until tomorrow's game," Gardner said when asked how much damage had been done to his side's momentum.

"We've spoken about the loss and how it's not the end of the world.

"We've just got to put it behind us and get over it and turn out with a good performance.

"It's not the end of our season, we've still got plenty of time."

With seven games to go, the Sharks need to win at least five and possibly six games to make the finals.

But given the fact Newcastle are one of the sides they are battling it out with for one of what appears to be three remaining finals berths up for grabs, Saturday night's match is a must-win if the Sharks are to finish in the top eight.

Their cause hasn't been helped by the likely loss of skipper Paul Gallen, who is struggling with a calf injury sustained in the loss to the Dragons.

"He's just been with the physio every day trying to get himself right," Gardner said.

"Knowing Gal, I know he'll want to play, I know he'll be doing everything in his powers to play - hopefully he can."

Johnny Mannah remains on standby for Gallen, while Kiwi international Jeremy Smith is also battling a hand injury which will likely require a pain-killing injection.

Newcastle, who have lost two straight following their round 17 win over the Dragons, welcome back skipper Kurt Gidley from a hamstring injury, though his return could be offset by the anticipated loss of forwards Neville Costigan (knee) and Dan Tolar (achilles), with a final decision expected on Saturday morning.

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