CRONULLA Sharks are rebuilding their ‘‘Shark Park fortress’’ as their march up the NRL ladder continues this season.
The Sharks’ gutsy, come-from-behind 20-19 victory over the tough New Zealand Warriors on Saturday night — in conditions more suited to the visitors and with three Sharks stars missing — has given their fans more reason to turn up to Toyota Stadium in 2012.
Before Sydney’s wet weather affected their last two home games, the Sharks were averaging more than 14,000 fans a season — well up on last year’s averages.
In seven home games this season, the Sharks have lost only one — their first match against Newcastle back in round two — and now sit equal second on 20 points on the NRL ladder, behind Melbourne (24).
The Sharks have another five home games remaining, with bitter Sydney rival the Roosters the next team to face the ‘‘Fortress’’, following the Sharks’ bye this weekend, and an away game against Brisbane on Friday week.
‘‘It was awful conditions and we want to thank so many fans for turning up, and hope we can keep winning for them and reward their loyalty,’’ said Sharks coach Shane Flanagan of the 9000-plus who braved the wet and cold.
It was the Sharks’ second wet game in a row, following on from their win over the Gold Coast Titans the Sunday before.
The new-look Sharks are steadily moving towards the 28-30 points mark, which is usually regarded as the cutoff benchmark for finals teams finishing in the NRL top eight each year.
After this weekend’s bye they will sit on 22 points as they prepare to meet an understrength Broncos side, five nights before Origin III.
Then Cronulla fans can flock to the five remaining home games in the final nine rounds as the Sharks set about cementing a top four spot, playing against the Roosters, Raiders, Panthers, Rabbitohs
Sharks under-20s player Daniel Moroko faces a lengthy suspension if a charge of biting is upheld at the league judiciary this week.
The promising outside back was put on report after Warriors’ rival, Ligi Sao, alleged he was bitten on the forearm during the game preceding the main NRL match
at Toyota Stadium, on Saturday afternoon.