Cronulla playmaker James Maloney rued his late field goal miss against North Queensland on Saturday and claimed the Sharks would have won the game had he successfully bisected the posts.
The scores were tied at 14-14 when the former Sydney Roosters five-eighth tried his luck 10 minutes from time only to see the ball sail wide to the right.
Ethan Lowe responded for the hosts with a match-winning try when he crashed over from close range to start the Cowboys’ premiership defence with a 20-14 victory at 1300 Smiles Stadium.
“If I made that field goal, the game changes,” Maloney said.
“I had the shot there in front of me so I had the shot.”
It was mixed debut for the 29-year-old in his first game in Sharks colours following his switch from the Roosters in the off-season.
“That game was good in parts but certainly it was disappointing with the result,” he said.
“We put ourselves in a position to win … the game was in the balance there.
“They executed a few things in that stage of the game better than we did.”
Maloney added much-needed experience and poise to the Sharks line-up and in combination with half back Chad Townsend and veteran hooker Michael Ennis there were some encouraging signs for the season ahead for Sharks coach Shane Flanagan.
But Maloney said his combination with Townsend will need to improve, starting in the local derby with St George Illawarra next Sunday.
“A lot of times we were good but some times we were out of sync,” he said.
“It feels like you’re always chasing your tail when you go down early “It was a big effort from the boys to fight back and get into a position to win the game.
“But, we need to nurse some wounds before we go again.”