A four tries all draw and a seven tries to three victory over the Balmain Tigers represented two solid hit outs for the Sharks junior rep sides over the weekend.
The Under-16 Matthews Cup Sharks let in a late try which locked the scores up at full time, however as Elite Development coach John Morris explained while the team still has plenty of work to do, it was still a good exercise ahead of the start of the season in three weeks time.
“They played big squad numbers so it was hard for them to get a feel for it and to get into the game but Balmain were big and physical and they were able to match them,” Morris said. “They scored a few tries with good ball movement and some players stepped up, which makes it hard for the coach when it comes to finalising his team.
“And there were no injuries, so the trial served its purpose well.”
As for the SG Ball Sharks, the under 18’s got the better of a traditionally strong Tigers outfit despite their three state squad members being missing.
Props Daniel Vasquez and Brock Illet were rested after attending an Under 18’s NSW Emerging Blues camp the day before, while Australian Schoolboy and Queensland rep Keenan Yortsen was another late withdrawal from the trial match with a minor injury concern.
“Coach Dave Howlett will want to keep a bit of a lid on it and there are certainly things they still need to work on and improve, but without three of their senior players they were pretty sharp,” Morris said. “Again there were no injuries which is always a good thing.”
The Sharks junior reps next travel to Canberra for their second trial games this weekend.
Both Sharks teams then have a bye in round one of the season proper before kicking off their campaign on February 21 against Parramatta.