Junior Sharks bow out
A narrow 18-14 loss to one of the competition favourites in the Penrith Panthers has resulted in the Matthews Cup Sharks missing a place in the competition finals.
The under-16 Sharks went into the final round in seventh place, however the loss, coupled with other results going against them, has seen them bow out of contention.
The equation was slightly different for the SG Ball Sharks, who needed a victory against the Panthers to force their way into the playoffs which are set to begin this weekend.
The Sharks struggled almost from the outset to control the physically imposing Penrith side, with the Panthers eventually running out 50-4 winners.
After starting the final round in 10th the loss unfortunately sees the under-18 Sharks join their Matthews Cup counterparts in watching the finals action from the sidelines.
As far as the Matthews Sharks were concerned, the Panthers match was very much one that got away.
After giving up an early 8-0 lead the Sharks battled back through two Dylan Xerri tries, one of which was converted by Kyle Flanagan as the Cronulla team would take a 10-8 lead to the half time break.
It was an advantage the young Sharks would hold for almost 20 minutes of the second half until two quick tries to the Panthers took them out to an 18-10 lead and despite a late try to Isaac Lumelume it would be too late as time ran out.
For a team that was competitive in each and every game they contested throughout the season, it was an unfortunate ending to their 2014 campaign.
In the SG Ball the odds were stacked against then from the kickoff with their two starting front rowers withdrawing with injury and against a bigger Panthers outfit the Sharks were outgunned in going down by a large margin.
The Ball Sharks did a good job in hanging in during the first half, going to the break down by just 16-4, but the second period was all one way traffic as the Panthers showed why they are being tipped as potential under-18 titleholders as they ran rampant after the break.
In the final wash up the SG Ball Sharks will be ruing a couple of missed opportunities during the season as they dropped vital competition points in matches they would have expected to win.
A number of the Sharks junior rep players will no go into Academy programs as the clubs continues to work on their development for what lies ahead.
Dylan Xerri 2, Isaac Lumelume tries, Kyle Flanagan goal
Curtis Scott try