Sharks pounded by Parra as ref loses the plot
Report by Rob Willis, http://www.sharks.com.au
On a night that will sadly be remembered for the performance of the referee and not the players or the football played, the Sharks down to 11 men for the majority of the second half, have been thrashed 74-4 by the Parramatta Eels.
Shayne Hayne lost control of his emotions and ultimately the match, sending skipper David Peachey off for back chatting, Dale Newton for a high tackle and Danny Nutely to the sin bin for seemingly not much at all.
At one stage down to 10 men, the Sharks were forced to play almost 30 minutes with only 11 players, leaving them at the mercy of a free flowing Eels attack.
It was a match that featured niggling tactics from both sides, a non-existent 10 metres, an 18-5 penalty count against the Sharks and 14 tries to the Eels.
Not surprisingly, Sharks coach Chris Anderson, while guarded in his comments to avoid an NRL fine, labeled the match and the actions of the referee as way below what should be expected in the world's premier rugby league competition.
"I've been involved in football at this level for 30 years and I haven't seen anything like it," Anderson said. "What we saw out there was a farce. It's not good for rugby league and I'm very disappointed in what happened.
"I'm just glad we weren't fighting for two points to make the eight. It would have been diabolical."
Down 22-4 at half time and frustrated by Hayne's interpretation of the dominant tackle rule, Anderson sent Peachey onto the field to question the referee. Such was the disdain shown by Hayne to Peachey, it proved to be a decision the Sharks might now regret.
"I sent Peach out at half time to register a complaint about the fact that they were diving on their knees and he should have been calling dominant tackle. We tried talking to the referee but just got nothing out of him," Anderson lamented.
"Whether he took exception to that I'm not sure. Peach pushed the point a little bit and he's sent him off.
"My big disappointment is the first half. It was such a one-sided exhibition that it was always going to degenerate. We've had huge arguments about it (voluntary tackles). It was all to stop my flat attack and then another team goes and dives on their knees and we get penalised."
With Peachey off the field Phil Bailey assumed the role of captain and like the Sharks star fullback, had little luck in his discussions with Hayne.
"He kept waving his arms around disrespectfully when he was talking to me," Bailey said when he quizzed Hayne on why he had sent Peachey off. "He wouldn't have a bar of anyone, wouldn't speak to anyone"
"When he sent Peach off he just lost control of the whole game. They were offside, we were offside. The 10 metres was three metres and guys were getting hurt. See how many high shots there were. No one meant to do it but when the ref loses control things like that happen."
It was a night where unfortunately the football became secondary. When Paul Gallen beat a couple of tacklers, including Australian centre Jamie Lyon in a determined run to the line, it seemed the Sharks could continue their impressive record at Parramatta Stadium.
But that four-pointer was to be the only time the Sharks troubled the scoreboard attendant. Aided by a lop-sided penalty count and an abundance of possession, the Eels ran in four first half tries to be 22-4 ahead.
On the stroke of half time an indication was given as to what was to transpire in the second half when Peachey responded to a typical cheap-shot by Darren Traecy and a flurry of punches was thrown. The loss of composure was completely out of character for Peachey. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Traecy who, as he has done since his days at St George, goes out of his way to niggle and annoy his opponents as every opportunity with whatever tactics he deems necessary.
With the Sharks having just 10 men for a nine-minute period the Eels ran in a succession of tries, setting some club records along the way.
The Sharks will attempt to regroup before they take on South Sydney next Saturday night at the Aussie Stadium.
Newton appears to be in some trouble after his high tackle, while the charge Peachey will be forced to defend should be determined early in the week. Brett Kimmorley is a chance of making a return for the Sharks, hoping to use the last two matches of the season to push his claims for a Kangaroo Tour berth.