Beautiful one day, perfect the next?
It wasn’t quite that sort of weather on the Gold Coast on Saturday night as the Cronulla Sharks put in a performance that was almost as bad as the conditions.
Cronulla suffered a 30-10 thrashing at the hands of the Titans that could see them slip to fourth by the end of the weekend.
It was in April, 2015 that Cronulla survived a “Sharknado” in the shire to overcome South Sydney. While there wasn’t the same wind at Cbus Super Stadium as that night at Shark Park, torrential rain began falling 20 minutes before kick-off and continued until half-time, covering two-thirds of the pitch in surface water.
Cronulla were already up against it before the weather settled in, with four players backing up from Wednesday night’s State of Origin. Their fifth Origin representative, James Maloney, was rested by Shane Flanagan who endured an unhappy night for his 150th match as Sharks coach.
That forced Jack Bird to shift to five-eighth with Andrew Fifita named on the bench alongside Luke Lewis who was battling the flu.
While it looked as though the reigning premiers had finally turned the corner in their thrashing of the Sydney Roosters a fortnight ago, Cronulla lapsed back into some bad habits that have blighted most of their season.
The Sharks made a host of simple errors with the ball as their completion rate got worse as the match went on as they chased points. Cronulla’s defence, arguably the backbone of their success in recent years, went missing as they missed a number of crucial tackles that led directly to points.
The Titans continued their good recent record against Cronulla having downed the Sharks 16-12 in the shire in their round eight clash and ended Cronulla’s 15-match winning streak last season, earning an 18-all draw at home. Cronulla have now won just two of their last seven clashes with the Titans
Cronulla dominated the opening 10 minutes but it was the Gold Coast who opened the scoring. An Ashley Taylor grubber found Konrad Hurrell to score next to the posts.
The Sharks went close twice through Gerard Beale and Fa’amanu Brown before both sides settled into the grind as they battled the atrocious conditions.
The Titans extended their lead five minutes before half-time when Jayson Bukuya dropped a speculative Jarryd Hayne crossfield kick. From the ensuing scrum Taylor breezed past Bird to score.
Taylor had his second three minutes after the break when he crossed from close range before he laid a try on for Kevin Proctor to have the Gold Coast out to a 20-0 lead.
The best was yet to come from the Titans who produced a miraculous effort to seal the game with 20 minutes remaining. A Tyrone Roberts flick pass was the highlight before Joe Greenwood slid over.
But the Gold Coast weren’t done, with former Sharks hooker Pat Politoni crashing over from dummy-half to secure the Titans’ biggest ever win over Cronulla and hand the Sharks their first away defeat of the season.
Kurt Capewell and Sosaia Feki crossed for late consolation tries for the Sharks but it was too little too late.
Gold Coast Titans 30 (Ashley Taylor two, Konrad Hurrell, Kevin Proctor, Joe Greenwood, Pat Politoni tries. Tyrone Roberts three goals)
Cronulla Sharks 10 (Kurt Capewell, Sosaia Feki tries. Valentine Holmes goal)
at Cbus Super Stadium, Robina
Leader man of the match: Ashley Taylor (Titans)
Sharks’ next three: Rabbitohs (home), Warriors (away), Raiders (home)