After the disappointments of the previous week, when both teams were soundly beaten by the Sydney Roosters, it was a much more positive outcome when the Sharks Junior rep teams travelled to Campbelltown last Saturday and scored impressive victories.
The Matthews Cup Sharks trailed Wests at half time but controlled proceedings after the break in running out 22-16 victors, while in the SG Ball the Sharks broke open a close game late in the contest in running out convincing 42-6 winners over the Magpies.
The two wins pushed the young Sharks teams into the top eight of their respective competitions with just four rounds of the regular season remaining.
In the Matthews Cup a physically bigger Magpies outfit dominated early and threatened to run away with the game in the first half but some tenacious defense kept them at bay, with half time coming at just the right time for the under-16 Sharks.
Down 16-6 whatever changes to the game plan coach Darren Capovilla made were right on the mark, with the Sharks grinding their way back into the match, largely on the back of some bulldozing charges from prop Fine Kula and a number of darting runs from backrower Dean Tatsis.
With half back Kyle Flanagan and Blayke Brailey controlling the ruck and kicking intelligently they continued to force the Magpies back into their end of the field, with the Sharks edging ahead at 18-16, before scoring what was to become the match winning try when winger Will Matthews dived over out wide.
It was an impressive second half effort and one which will give the youngest Sharks side plenty of confidence for the run into the finals.
While Kula was a standout for the Sharks, they had whole host of others contributing to the victory, none more so than Tatsis who has now overcome his early season injury concerns and is starting to find his feet at junior rep level.
In the SG Ball the game followed a similar pattern, with the big Magpies forwards dominating the early going before some dogged defense and a little persistence from the Sharks began to wear them down.
Going into the break with Cronulla ahead 8-6 it was anyone’s game, with the first half Sharks tries coming to Curtis Scott on the wing after a clever exchange of passes and half back Jack Williams who was in the right place at the right time when a Conner Tracey kick bounced his way.
From almost the time they returned to the field however it was all Sharks. Appearing the fitter of the two teams the Sharks controlled the ball and handled the humid conditions best, six second half tries sealing the result.
Hooker Jayden Brailey, back after missing the past two matches with injury, ran the bigger Magpie forwards ragged around the ruck, Ash Nisbet was hard to handle wider out, while winger Scott Allen was rewarded for a wholehearted performance with two tries.
Like their Matthews counterparts the Ball Sharks move into the top eight with the victory and will look to continue their form over the next few rounds ahead of the competition finals.
The next assignment for the Sharks junior rep teams is against the Central Coast next Saturday at Morrie Breen Oval at Wyong. Matthews Cup is scheduled to kick off at 10.45am, followed by SG Ball at 12 noon.
Will Matthews 2, Blayke Brailey, Fine Kula tries, Kyle Flanagan 3 goals
WESTERN SUBURBS 16
Scott Allen 2, Ash Nisbet 2, Jayden Walker, Jayden Brailey, Curtis Scott, Jack Williams tries, Jamayne Isaako 5 goals
WESTERN SUBURBS 6