Cronulla Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon has credited his side for earning the right to score points in a 52 points to 16 thrashing of the St George Illawarra Dragons on Thursday evening in the Shire.

The Sharks conceded the first try and had to put up with a spirited Dragons' outfit during the first half before racing away with the contest in the second.

In a game where the Sharks had 61 per cent of the football and made just five errors in a clinical performance, the black, white and blue returned from their bye to provisionally move into the top two on the NRL ladder, although that's likely to change by the time the weekend is out.

Fitzgibbon said his side worked hard during their bye and repeaed the rewards against a Dragons side who he thought were better than the scoreboard suggested.

“We worked pretty hard in what was a short bye - ended up being just a long turnaround because it was a Thursday night coming out of it, but we worked on a few things, and in the end we responded to what we worked on so it was good, Fitzgibbon said.

“Clearly they were going to respond. I thought the scoreboard flattered us. I thought they were stronger than that in a lot of ways in the physical nature of the game. I thought they took it to us early.

“The most pleasing thing was, we just stuck at it, were quite patient in the way we played and then we earnt the right later in the game to play a bit more footy. We just knuckled down on trading sets, and kept asking the questions before earning the right later.

“I'll be more pleased about earning the right [to play footy and score points] than what the end scoreboard said to be perfectly honest. I thought that we again played a physically committed team and were happy to stay in that space for as long as it was going to take. I thought that contest was a bit harder than the scoreboard suggested."

In what was a superb showing from Nicho Hynes, the star halfback made his case for a Blues Origin jumper for Game 3 with three try assists, one of his own and 118 metres on top of excellent control over his team.

NRL Rd 21 - Sharks v Dragons

When asked though, Fitzgibbon was more willing to lump praise on Matt Moylan, who also had three try assists and 127 metres in what was likely his best performance of the year.

The coach said that the entire team gelling together and playing their roles had allowed Hynes to seem the standout.

“I thought [Matt] Moylan was pretty strong too. They [Moylan and Nicho Hynes] work well together, they both played strongly together. Nicho was a result of the team performance I thought tonight,” Fitzgibbon said.

“I thought everyone else did their jobs and allowed him to do the things he needs to do, but I thought the other guy [Moylan] was probably [better].”

The Sharks, who have won 9 of their 15 games so far this season, have used all three of their byes and will now begin a difficult run to the finals, which includes a trip to Auckland in a fortnight, before they play all of the Panthers, Rabbitohs, and Raiders, as well as the improving Cowboys away from home during the final six weeks of the competition.

The Wests Tigers next Thursday evening will be next up for the black, white and blue.