The NSW Cup season will go down to the wire with the seventh-placed Sharks needing a win in their last round match to ensure a finals berth.
The Sharks certainly helped their cause with a solid second half performance and a convincing 32-10 victory over the North Sydney Bears however with their closest pursuers Wyong also winners the two clubs are level on points heading into this weekend’s round of matches.
The Cronulla side has a superior for and against and would cement seventh place and go through to the semi finals should the two both win in the last round.
For the match with the Bears the NSW Cup Sharks were forced to call on eight NYC under 20’s players to make up the numbers due to the crippling injury toll affecting the NRL squad and it took the youngsters a little while to work their way into the contest.
Played in slippery conditions the Sharks were ordinary in the first period, going to the break behind 10-4 however a half time talk from coach Tony Herman got their minds back on the job and the team responded with a resounding second half.
Storm five eighth Ben Hampton found his running game and was rewarded with three tries, George Rose and Junior Moors showed good leadership in steering their young teammates around, while 20’s back rower Ben Chahoud won praise from his coach for a wholehearted performance. Chahoud was later recognised with the Player’s Player award after the game.
The Sharks crossed for five second half tries while managing to keep their opponents scoreless in an impressive final 40 minutes.
The NSW Cup Sharks play the sixth-placed Mounties in their last match, while Wyong, currently eighth, play the Wests Tigers. The Newtown Jets and New Zealand Warriors sit one point outside the top eight looking for a win in the final round and waiting and hoping for a slip up from the two teams ahead of them.
The NSW Cup Sharks v Mounties match is set down for Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday afternoon. Kick off is at 3.00pm.
Ben Hampton 3, Travis Robinson, Michael Morris, Jake Lawrence tries, Young Tonumaipea 4 goals
NORTH SYDNEY 10.