TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Sharks coach Josh Hannay looks on before the start of the round 15 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks at QCB Stadium, on June 18, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Cronulla Sharks' coach Josh Hannay has furiously slammed the decision making which may have cost his team its season.

In a game which enormous finals implications surrounding it, the Knights and Sharks were all square heading into the final ten minutes.

It was then that the Sharks were penalised for a second effort on Bradman Best. The centre was dragged back into the in goal by a host of Cronulla defenders, only to be met with a penalty from referee Matt Cecchin.

Another penalty followed just a few plays later when bench lock Billy Magoulias was penalised for not being square at marker, and that was all the contest wrote as the Knights slotted a penalty goal to seal the deal.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Billy Magoulias of the Sharks is tacked during the NRL Trial match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Manly Sea Eagles at Shark Park on February 23, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

It had come with both teams locked and seemingly approaching field goal territory in a game which has left the Knights in the top eight, sitting seventh. With the Gold Coast Titans and Canberra Raiders losing to the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Melbourne Storm respectively, it means the Knights are two points ahead of the Titans and Raiders, although their for and against is a major cause for concern.

A run home against the Canterbury Bulldogs, Titans and Brisbane Broncos though should have them in pole position for one of the final two finals spots.

The Sharks, on the other hand, are now in a dire position. Two points out of the top eight, their for and against is solid, however, they sit two points behind the Raiders and Titans, and a further two behind the Knights.

Hannay said you see decisions to the ones in Sunday's contest not becoming penalties in similar circumstances every week.

“Every week, every game you see people driven back into the in-goal, that’s part of the game For that to be a penalty... they march up the other end and then kick the winning goal from that,” he said.

“There were some tough decisions on us today.”

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Will Chambers of the Sharks looks on during the round 15 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks at QCB Stadium, on June 18, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Compounding issues for the Sharks, front rower Andrew Fifita was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured larynx.

The Sharks will now likely need to win three from three to make the finals, and while games against the Wests Tigers and Brisbane Broncos appear winnable, a last-round fixture with the Melbourne Storm may well be out of reach.

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