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Cronulla coach Josh Hannay has slammed his team's "embarrassing" defence, claiming not enough players put in enough effort to beat Canberra on Saturday night.
The Sharks' 34-18 defeat at the hands of the Raiders could easily come back to bite them, with both teams vying for the spots at the bottom of the top eight.
Looking comfortable in the finals run three weeks ago, the Sharks have since dropped games to Brisbane and Canberra to leave them clinging onto eighth.
Hannay admitted that his side were in the game for far longer than they deserved to be, after they led 18-16 with 17 minutes to go.
But ultimately 49 missed tackles were always going to come back to bite them.
"That's embarrassing. That's an indication of the attitude just being way off the mark," Hannay admitted.
"In the opening exchanges they were breaking tackles at will and the old saying is 'defence is an attitude'.
"We let ourselves down tonight with our attitude and our application and we got what we deserved.
"We had too many that weren't putting in enough for us to be realistic chance of winning."
The Sharks still have one of the friendliest runs home of teams battling for the bottom two spots in the eight, with just two games against top-six sides.
But they can ill-afford losses like Saturday night, in what are effectively four-point games.
They still face fellow contenders the Warriors and the Knights in the next month, matches which loom as crucial for their finals hopes.
But Hannay's biggest concern is that he can tell either before or at the start of matches if his team will be off.
Shaun Johnson missed seven tackles and ran the ball just once at halfback, while centres Connor Tracey and Jesse Ramien had five misses each.
"When we're not there with our attitude and our intent ... you can (sometimes) get a sense of it sometimes in the sheds but certainly in the early exchanges of the game," Hannay said.
"We're a team that needs to be really bang on with our attitude and intent. Because that's the hallmark of us as a club and our DNA.
"And when that's not there we struggle. We need to get that right and we need to have that every week."