NYC Sharks pluck the Roosters
Saturday 20 July 2013 6:46 PM
A game between the third placed Roosters and a Sharks NYC team on the bottom of the competition ladder didn’t appear to be much of a match up.
The NYC Sharks had battled injury and inconsistency throughout the season, while the Roosters have notched a series of impressive victories during what has been a so-far successful year.
On this occasion however the Sharks would play for the full 80, score the match sealer in the last two minutes and emerge 26-24 winners in what could be described a considerable boil over.
The Roosters would have known they were in for a game when the Sharks came out with plenty of energy and enthusiasm and after dominating the early exchanges were rewarded when Dallas Wells dived over in the corner against his old club.
On the back of a penalty the Roosters replied through fullback Nene MacDonald and with both kickers off target the scores were locked up at 4-all.
Showing a commitment that has been missing from their performances at various stages of the season the Sharks responded and again went on the attack. This time it was Valentine Holmes who scored, running onto an inside pass from Fa’amaunu Brown.
Walsh was wide once again with his kick at goal but the Sharks would go to the front at 8-4.
A third Sharks try then came in the 30th minute, to winger Alan Nuilesa, before the Roosters got their second of the night to send the teams to the break with the Cronulla side ahead 12-8.
The Roosters gained the ascendency in the early part of the second half, with two tries, one converted, taking them out to an 18-12 lead and the Sharks appeared to have their work cut out if they hoped to wrest back control.
But the reaction from the Sharks was positive and some enterprising play down the left hand side of the field saw Holmes into space once more, with the young speedster beating a number of would-be defenders in a 30-metre dash to the line.
Holmes converted his own try from wide out and the scores were locked up at 18-all with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Then it was that man Holmes in the game once again, this time latching onto a misdirected Rooster pass before sprinting 80-metres for a spectacular intercept try.
He was wide with the conversion but Holmes had guided the Sharks to a 22-18 advantage.
However as has been the case on many occasions with the young Sharks they were again their own worst enemies. A innocuous kick was put up by the Roosters but when Wells slipped while trying to field the ball Sydney centre Rhyse Martin was in position to dive on the football for a try that would put his team back in front at 24-22.
This though was a night where the Sharks refused to be lie down and hand their opposition a victory.
From a scrum in their own territory Rea Pittman took the ball on the short side before pushing off a couple of Roosters. Pittman then set sail down field and despite the best efforts of the cover defense managed to plant the ball down to put his team in front with just two minutes left on the clock.
The Roosters tried a short kick off but it was to no avail with the ball knocked on and the Sharks wound down the clock for a gritty 26-24 win.
The Sharks had a number of courageous performers on the night, with Michael Morris making 42 tackles, Reece Davidson playing solidly in the back row and prop Kurt Dillon carrying the ball forward strongly.
But the stand out was Holmes, who crossed for three tries, ran for over 250 metres in attack, made eight tackle busts and three line breaks in a stunning performance.
The Sharks will be keeping a keen eye on other results this weekend, with their win potentially allowing them to climb off the bottom of the NYC ladder.
They have another tough test of character next week when they play the second placed Panthers, with coach James Shepherd and his team to now go into that contest with renewed confidence and belief.
Valentine Holmes 3, Rea Pittman, Dallas Wells, Alan Nuilesa tries, Holmes goal