Sharks lose ugly as Dogs snap losing streak

Bulldogs players celebrate a try during the round seven NRL match between the Sharks and the Bulldogs. Photo /Getty Images
Bulldogs players celebrate a try during the round seven NRL match between the Sharks and the Bulldogs. Photo /Getty Images

It was ugly, sloppy and at times very lucky.

But Canterbury's 24-8 victory over a wasteful Cronulla outfit was exactly what last year's grand finalists needed to rejuvenate their sputtering NRL season.

The Bulldogs, who entered the match in last place on the competition ladder, remain a shadow of their 2012 selves - but at least they're creeping in the right direction.

And now with a four-game losing streak snapped, Des Hasler will welcome back England international James Graham from a biting suspension and possibly fellow prop Sam Kasiano (leg).

Even Hasler, famed for his ability to talk his side down, didn't distance himself from the importance of the four-tries-to-two victory.

"It was a pretty important two points for both sides today and I'm just pleased we were able to prevail," Hasler said.

Hasler described the Bulldogs form leading into the contest as "diabolical".

They might have avoided that description on Sunday, but there is still plenty of work to be done before they can be considered for a finals berth.

"For us, that's what we need," in-form Dogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds said.

"We can go away with some positives but obviously we've got a lot of things to work on."

In front of a crowd of 10,131 in Gosford, the Sharks and Bulldogs dished up a mostly lacklustre performance - despite match-winning doubles to Mitch Brown and Sam Perrett.

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen lamented his side's blown opportunities - which punctuated the full 80-minute performance.

Centre Ben Pomeroy was the most graphic culprit, blowing a three-on-one chance by throwing a pass over the sideline.

But he wasn't the lone Shark in that department.

Winger Nathan Stapleton also blinked when confronted with a three-on-one scenario, while Gallen himself spilled a Todd Carney pass with the line beckoning.

"It's like all our losses really - we're in every game," Gallen said.

"We almost beat ourselves - simple errors.

"Two-on-one passes for tries - it's not good enough for first grade."

Five-eighth Todd Carney made an impressive return from injury, creating all of the opportunities which were later butchered by his teammates, and giving hope to Sharks fans that all is not lost.

But a frustrated Sharks coach Shane Flanagan didn't hold back when discussing his side's missed chances.

"We had our chances in the first half, that's for sure. We had two really clear opportunities," he said.

"And our skill level was poor in the first half.

"They should've been tries.

"I feel like we're our own worst enemy and we gave (the match) to them today."

As for the Bulldogs, Reynolds hoped some of last year's polish will be added to Sunday's grit in coming weeks.

"It will come," he said.

"It's not like we're waiting for it to come. We're working hard."

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