The Sharks cruised to victory against the Tigers and came within 30 seconds of keeping teams scoreless in consecutive weeks for just the second time in club history.
Cronulla ran away 30-4 victors at home as the Tigers’ struggles in attack continued – they only snapped a 200-minute try drought in the final seconds.
MATCH CENTER: Wests Tigers vs Cronulla Sharks
Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now !!
The Tigers remain the only winless side in the competition after five rounds, it’s their worst start to a season in club history.
The Sharks are 4-1 for the first time since 2008 and their fourth straight win propels them into the top spot on the live ladder.
Here are the key takeaways from the match.
SHARKS BACKLINE LIGHTS UP
The Sharks backline was simply sensational against the Tigers, with their back five all running for at least 129 meters.
Fullback Will Kennedy (147 meters), wingers Sione Katoa (142 meters) and Ronaldo Mulitalo (134 meters), centers Jesse Ramien (129 meters) and Siosifa Talakai (141 meters), all dominated.
The back five scored five tries and halfback Nicho Hynes continued his stellar start to the season with 127 meters, two try assists and three linebreak assists.
“They didn’t get out of second gear for the majority of it. When they went to gear three and four, their spine connected really caused a lot of trouble on the edges for the Tigers, ”Cooper Cronk said on Fox League.
“I really liked the games of the back five. They have 20 tackle busts, five tries, all over 129 meters.
“Combine that with Nicho Hynes just dictating terms and moving them around the middle third of the field.
“It was a very pleasing performance for (coach) Craig Fitzgibbon but there is so much more ceiling and improvement in terms of what they can do, the Sharks.”
Corey Parker echoed the sentiment on the post-match panel.
“The outside backs and what they’re able to provide, particularly the centers, I thought Ramien and Talakai were once again instrumental with their power game and getting their sets started so well,” Parker said.
“Nicho Hynes 13 runs, 130 run meters and two try assists, he had a hand in absolutely everything.”
Greg Alexander said the performance from the backline was no flash in the pan.
“Last week the numbers were even bigger, we had three players ticking over 200 meters,” he said.
“The week before that in the rain, Matty Ikuvalu came in and was arguably the best winger through Round 3.
“Craig Fitzgibbon has got a recipe of outside backs chalking up big meters and taking pressure off the forwards.”
SHARKS ‘EPIC DEFENSE
The Sharks went within an intercept attempt, in the final minute, of keeping their opposition scoreless in consecutive weeks for the first time since 1989.
Cronulla missed just 10 tackles compared to the Tigers’ 29, with Craig Fitzgibbon’s mark on the club clearly being felt.
Fitzgibbon was behind the Roosters’ famous great wall of Bondi which carried the club to premiership glory.
“The best part I think Craig Fitzgibbon would have like is for 79 minutes the Tigers didn’t even look like scoring,” Cronk said.
“They had 10 missed tackles for the entire game for the Sharks, while they were in second gear, they’re still really strong defensively.”
Voss described Cronulla’s defense as “ruthless” while Parker wasn’t surprised to see a Fitzgibbon led side “hold strong”.
TIGERS ‘RUDDERLESS ATTACK
The Tigers only ended a 200-minute try drought with an intercept in the final minute of the game.
Before Ken Maumalo crossed for the consolation try, the Tigers hadn’t scored since the 37th minute of Round 3.
Tigers halves Luke Brooks and Jock Madden had four runs between them for just 19 meters against the Sharks.
“The Tigers looked quite simply rudderless,” Corey Parker said.
“They have no life in them, they are lacking confidence.
“It was looking down the barrel of two and a half games without a try and they come up with a consolation try with an intercept.”
The late try saw the Tigers avoid being kept try-less in consecutive games for the first time since 2004.
“You are lost for words for where the bottom of the barrel will be for the Tigers, now not only until they don’t win, they have stopped scoring points,” Voss said.
“But that man Michael Maguire, he won’t sleep, he works hard, he’ll be up again at 4am tomorrow morning, he’ll train, watch the video, he’ll be ready to go at the start of the week.
“But I don’t know what he says.”
Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.
Re-live all the action below in our live blog, if you can’t see it click here !!!