Fitzgibbon would have needed a few heartburn tablets. Who knows, maybe even a new TV.
The new coach would have appreciated the Sharks digging in for the fight. They trailed 18-6 at the break, and were entitled to be losing by a lot more considering they only had 35 per cent of possession.
They hit back with tries to Will Kennedy and Teig Wilton, as Moylan and Nicho Hynes appreciated getting the chance to go on the attack.
All the talk over the summer in the Shire was how their new halves would click.
Hynes produced a fantastic 70m kick early in the tackle count to put Cronulla on the attack. Hynes and Moylan helped lay on a couple of tries. The one criticism of Hynes during the TV commentary was him being caught with the ball on the fifth tackle on more than one occasion, which ruled him out as a kicking option for the final play.
Hynes and Moylan will improve with time. At least Fitzgibbon should get to be at the ground next week when the Sharks take on Parramatta.
One concern for Canberra was the sight of hooker Josh Hodgson hobbling from the field after just seven minutes. The Engishman, who is bound for Parramatta next year, has already suffered two ACL ruptures – in each knee – and there were fears he had suffered a third rupture.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart, however, said: “We’re hoping it’s meniscus, it’s on the outside of his knee and he has good stability in regards to his ACL. From a layman’s point of view and talking to the doctor, hopefully it’s just the meniscus.
“You certainly don’t enjoy those endings [to games], but you enjoy the scoreboard at the end of it. There was a lot of grit and a lot of want. It was a good game of footy.”
It was a great way to celebrate Jack Wighton’s 200th NRL game and honour the memory of recruitment guru Peter Mulholland, who died over the summer. Mulholland was responsible for unearthing debutant James Schiller, who helped deny Ikuvalu during the final play.
Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now.