A Paul Gallen-less Cronulla side snapped North Queensland’s 11-game winning streak and also broke into the top eight for the first time this year with a stirring comeback win in Townsville.
But while the Sharks were the biggest winners out of the NRL’s round 16, the Wests Tigers lost their third straight game at Leichhardt Oval and had Robbie Farah racing to hospital to get x-rays on his hand.
The NSW deputy suffered a possible fractured hand in a stinging 35-12 defeat where they failed to score a point in the second half and Panthers winger David Simmons bagged four tries.
The defeat leaves the Tigers in equal last spot with Manly and Newcastle.
Michael Jennings returned with a bang, scoring a try and throwing the last pass in another as the Sydney Roosters held out the Gold Coast 20-10.
Making his comeback from a club suspension following his arrest in Parramatta, Jennings was a standout against the Titans.
Shaun Johnson continued his purple patch in leading the Warriors to a 30-8 win over Canberra on Saturday.
The livewire halfback sparked the side to a win in the second half, scoring a four-pointer before setting up Tuimoala Lolohea.
Meanwhile in Townsville, with North Queensland missing inspirational skipper Johnathan Thurston, the Sharks ran in 24 unanswered points in the second half to jump into the top eight.
Pleased Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said the team proved it could cover the loss of their talismanic skipper.
“Gal’s our leader but we’ve got so many senior players in our team that we just move on,” he said.
“We don’t talk to the media about it; we don’t talk about it as a group.
“We have confidence in the players coming in. It would have been a hard decision on who to leave out of the team that won last week.”
Parramatta eased pressure on coach Brad Arthur with an inspired 16-12 win over St George Illawarra.
With the Kieran Foran saga swirling, Semi Radradra continued his impressive point-scoring run, dotting down three times – the fourth game in a row he has scored multiple tries.
Rookie South Sydney winger Aaron Gray continued his impressive rise, playing a starring role as the Rabbitohs outclassed Manly 20-8.
Gray scored two tries and set up another as the Sea Eagles remained anchored to the bottom of the ladder.
The Broncos maintained top spot with an impressive attacking display in their 44-22 win over Newcastle on Friday night.
However it came at a cost with prop Josh McGuire ruled out for the season with an Achilles injury while Knights and NSW hard man Beau Scott also suffered a shoulder problem.