The Sharks ended off their season on a high note as they demolished a game Southern Kings side 58-13 in Durban on Saturday.
The home side may have missed out on the playoffs after a poor run, but scored no fewer than 10 tries as they took the Vodacom Super Rugby newcomers apart with a mix of dominant forward play and some incisive backline movements.
But it will be scant consolation for the Sharks faithful, even though they managed to say goodbye in the best way possible to the coaching staff and several players who are now leaving.
Still, Sharks supporters will want to remind the rest of South Africa that you are only as good as your last game, and in this case they were pretty impressive against a Kings team that looked simply like it was running on empty at this stage of the competition.
Yet it was the Kings that scored first, shocking the home crowd as an ex-Shark, Waylon Murray, intercepted a long pass by Meyer Bosman to run the length of the field and cross the line first.
The Sharks simply reverted to their tried and tested maul, with the first drive allowing Marcell Coetzee to peel off and barge his way over the line while the second saw Bismarck du Plessis cross the whitewash with ease at the back of the juggernaut of players.
They added a third try in the 17th minute when Odwa Ndungane, who played an exceptional game, chased down a grubber in style and was given a favourable bounce to pounce on the ball despite the attention of two Kings players.
The Kings managed to secure some good possession to first slot a penalty through George Whitehead, and then gave the Sharks some mauling medicine of their own as Mpho Mbiyozo peeled off the back of a lineout drive to dive over unopposed and bring them back into the game.
But any pretences they had about scoring an upset or even keeping up with the Sharks' scoreline went out the window when the third Sharks lineout drive was stopped illegally and referee Stuart Berry had no option but to award a penalty try to the home team.
For his part in the indiscretion Devin Oosthuizen received his marching orders for the professional foul.
The Kings managed to see the half out with 14 men without conceding more points, but the wheels started truly coming off early in the second half when the Sharks used prime turnover ball to send Riaan Viljoen away for the fifth try.
With the result no longer a factor, the Sharks started taking control, and after a 12-phase attack, prop Tendai Mtawarira found some space and saw the tryline with no Kings player able to stop him scoring a great try.
Louis Ludick added his name to the scoresheet shortly afterwards and it was clear the Kings had little left in the tank, with the only real question being how many tries the Sharks could put on the board by this stage.
As the clock ticked down, the Sharks edged closer to 50 as Keegan Daniel scored after finding gaping holes in the Kings’ defence, and replacement Fred Zelinga took them past the 50 mark with a try on debut.
Bosman, one of the players leaving for greener pastures, finished off the match with a try that went from end to end as the Sharks capped a good night on the park by winning in style.
But despite the victory lifting them to seventh on the log, they still finish just outside the top six, and their fans will be left wondering what could have been had one or two other results gone their way.
Sharks – Tries: Marcell Coetzee, Penalty try, Odwa Ndungane, Riaan Viljoen, Tendai Mtawarira, Louis Ludik, Keegan Daniel, Frederik Zeilinga, Meyer Bosman. Conversions: Meyer Bosman (4).
Southern Kings – Tries: George Whitehead, Mpho Mbiyozo. Penalty: Whitehead.