Junior Sharks split decision
Saturday 9 February 2013 10:50 PM
In an encouraging start to the junior representative season in matches played at Sharks Stadium on Saturday, the Sharks scored an impressive win in the SG Ball after suffering a narrow defeat to a strong South Sydney outfit in the Matthews Cup.
The Ball Sharks were a little bit scrappy in the first half but kept themselves in the contest at 14-12 behind, before controlling the match in the second period to run away 28-14 winners.
In the under 16’s Matthews Cup clash Souths appeared to be well on top after the opening 30 minutes, however a spirited comeback saw the Sharks turn the game around and take the lead with only seven minutes remaining, unfortunately the fightback came to nothing when the Rabbitohs scored late to snatch a 20-16 victory.
The Matthews result was a heartbreaker for the Sharks, coming against a Souths team tipped to be one of the leading contenders for the 16’s title in 2013.
Seemingly outmatched in the first half the Sharks responded after the break and turned a 14-6 deficit into a 16-14 lead when a clever grubber kick from Jack Williams was dived on by Raymond Reyes and the Cronulla side had their first lead of the match.
Unfortunately an error with four minutes left on the clock gifted their opponents field position and when the Souths hooker barged over from close range a golden opportunity had gone begging for the Sharks.
For the young Cronulla side Williams at halfback was solid throughout, with Brock Illett handing in a non-stop performance in the forwards.
In the SG Ball the Sharks scored early when Jaden Clarke put Leigh Higgins over out wide however a loss of concentration saw Souths gain some control and after the two teams traded points it was the visitors who would take a two point advantage to the break.
Whatever the instructions were from coach Dave Howlett at half time they worked a treat and on the back of a strong defensive effort in the forwards the backs began to wreak havoc on the Rabbitohs, with Clarke’s solo try inside the final 10 minutes sealing the result.
Clarke, the Peter Sterling Medal winner for the best player in the elite schoolboy competition in 2012, showed touches of class in helping to guide his team to a victory. He was ably supported by hard working forwards Harry Vanderhart and hooker Jayden Brailey, while centre Valentine Holmes atoned for a couple of first half errors with an excellent second half effort.
The Sharks now travel to Canberra next weekend for round two matches against the Raiders.
Jordan Collins, Raymond Reyes, Billy Magoulias tries, Kamren Kryer 2 goals
Jaden Clarke, Leigh Higgins, Valentine Holmes, Jayden Walker, Jamayne Stowers tries Jamayne Stowers 4 goals