Tough test for young Knights
Coach Nathan Brown and joint-captain Tariq Sims spoke to the media following Sunday's defeat at Hunter Stadium.
The lack of experienced players on the field made it a significant challenge for the Newcastle Knights to contain the Sharks who piled on points during the game.
"It was tough," Brown lamented.
"We had a great turn up from the fans and have a lot of playes who are going through a tough time.
"We have some older players playing with a lot of kids.
"We had seven kids who were 20 or under and six of them could have played in the under 20s.
"It does make it tough."
While this year's season may have not produced the success players were aiming for, Brown assures the Club has a long term development plan that relies on young, local youth gaining experience.
"What I do know is that as the years progress, alot of those kids who played today, some of those Cronulla blokes will be on the end of things when the years go on and they get more experience," he said.
"There are going to be tough days and I knew that before I took the job on.
"I think the guys have shown on a number of occasions this year that when we put enough experience on the field with the younger kids, we have some periods of games where we have competed better.
"Today at home is obviously not a great one."
He also believes the addition of a number of experinced heads in the squad would a great benefit.
"There are so many young kids on the field," he said.
"If you dropped four or five really experienced first graders in among the team out there today, I'm sure we would have been far more formidable.
"Most things we do at the moment are long term based.
"If you look at Danny Levi (20-years-old) and Jack Cogger is 18 and Brock Lamb is 19, they are all going to be very good players. At the moment they are young and are playing with very young players around them.
"If we can put more experience around them and more hardened players, I'm sure all of them will find the journey a bit easier as well."
A shattered Tariq acknowledged the loss was hard to swallow for the players, but said it will provide motivation to train and work harder.
"It's never easy taking a loss like that," he said.
"The best thing we can do is rock up at training tomorrow and go through the processes that we need to go through and work on the little things we are gettin wrong week in and week out.
"We have to be better and harder on each other about it.
"There's no easy way out of this.
"We have a great process in place but we are letting ourselves down."
A positive of the match for Brown was the way young halves Brock Lamb and Jack Cogger, in particular debutant Cogger, stood up to the overwhelming challenge.
"They both played at the line and they both played straight which I think is good," he said.
"When they get the ball in their hand they aren't frightened to go to the line.
"They were playing nice and straight and they play shot which is a bit of a lost art for a lot of young halves.
"There are going to be things they will look at and will like to do better, but as a whole, they did some really good stuff out there with the ball in their hand."
The major injury concern from the match was a wrist injury to Jacob Saifiti. He will have scans on Monday before the extent of his injury is known. Meanwhile Nathan Ross suffered a hamstring injury in the warm up.