The Newcastle Knights lost 22-6 against the Cronulla Sharks at a very wet Remondis Stadium on Friday night, stuttering in attack for the second week running.
While the men in hi-viz orange played with plenty of heart, nothing seemed to go right for them when in Sharks territory.
In a game of few highlights for the Knights Akuila Uate did score his 100th try for the Club, joining a select few NRL players to manage the feat.
On the back of three penalties in quick succession the Sharks had the first chance at registering points with an infringement from Adam Clydsdale in front of the uprights. Despite the momentum going their way they elected for a kick, and winger Michael Gordon duly delivered a 2-0 lead with nine minutes played.
On the back of a knock-on from the Sharks 20 metres out the Knights had their first proper opportunity in attack only for Clydsdale to be upended in a tackle that resulted in Andrew Fifita going on report.
The Knights followed the home team's lead and went for a penalty goal, Tyrone Roberts on target to push the score to 2-2 with twelve minutes played.
Following two quick penalties the Knights had another chance to test the Sharks. Jeremy Smith came close to scoring beneath the uprights, but in the following play Snowden lost the ball and the home side were let off the hook.
In what was proving to be an end-to-end battle the Sharks made the next attacking foray, Jeff Robson planting a solid kick that resulted in the Knights being held-up in goal.
The Sharks secured another penalty from the drop-out and again elected for the kick, Gordon kicking from in front to push the score to 4-2.
The Knights continued to falter in defence though, and in the 26th minute Jack Bird crossed over following some neat build-up play on the left edge. Gordon's conversion skewed wide, leaving the score at 8-2.
The Sharks were building up steam and they struck again three minutes later, fullback Valentine Holmes receiving the ball on the right touchline to place a clever chip over James McManus and give Luke Lewis an easy try. Gordon's kick was again wide but the Knights still found themselves on the wrong end of a 12-2 deficit.
With seven minutes left in the first half the men from the Hunter found themselves facing another scrum ten metres out from their own line, but Joey Leilua came up with an outstanding tackle that floored Bird and resulted in a turn-over in possession.
While the Sharks continued to push, the score remained 12-2 at halftime.
The Knights started the second half much the same way they finished the first, holding up in defence but continuing to make unforced errors when on the attack.
The Sharks made them pay in the 46th minute, Gerard Beale knocking back a Robson kick for Ben Barba to score in the left corner. Holmes went for the kick this time, but his effort sailed wide as well, leaving the score at 16-2.
Jarrod Mullen was forced from the field five minutes later, Kurt Gidley moving into the halves and Clydsdale resuming his role at hooker.
The Knights looked to have bagged their first try of the evening in the following set, but the video referee ruled that Gidley knocked the ball on when trying to offload five metres out from the line.
The Knights looked promising with twenty minutes to play, a Gidley orchestrated manoeuvre finding space down the right side only for Akuila Uate to fumble a difficult low pass.
Soon after Mullen returned to the field and it quickly paid dividends for the Knights as they pinned the Sharks back against their own line and earned a drop-out.
In the next set Smith played a nice offload to Roberts, who then fed Uate for his 100th try for the Knights. Roberts failed to convert, leaving the score at 16-6 with ten minutes to play.
Things only got worse for the Knights though as Korbin Sims dropped the ball in-goal from kick-off, giving the Sharks an easy let-off from what had been a solid passage of Knights dominance.
Heighington made the Knights pay, scoring beneath the uprights from the drop-out. Holmes nailed the kick, pushing the Sharks' lead to 22-6 with six minutes to play.
The Knights continued to push but couldn't find a way through the Sharks' defence, the final score 22-6.
Newcastle Knights 6 (T: Uate, G: Roberts 0/1, P: Roberts 1/1)
Cronulla Sharks 22 (T: Bird, Lewis, Barba, Heighington, G: Gordon 0/2, Holmes 1/2, P: Gordon 2/2)