In two tough and physical encounters the Sharks Matthews Cup and SG Ball team have been beaten by the Parramatta Eels in matches played at Patrician Brothers Blacktown last Saturday.
The Under-16’s Matthews Cup Sharks were competitive for large periods of the game before being beaten 22-10, while injuries hampered the efforts of the SG Ball Sharks who were overrun late in going down by 40-14.
Despite the two losses, as Sharks Elite Development Coach John Morris explained, there were some positives to take out of both performances.
“The Matthews boys showed enough to suggest they will be a good side this year, while the Ball team had a number of injuries and finished with no bench. But it was a physical game, they tried hard and the effort was certainly there,” Morris said.
In the Matthews Cup the Sharks began well, with backrower Jaemon Salmon scoring to give his team the lead, before two Eels tries took Parramatta out to a 10-4 half time lead.
Again the Sharks began the second period on the front foot, with newcomer Semisi Kioa capping off a strong game with a try, converted by Luke Metcalf and the scores were locked up at 10-all with around 15 minutes of the match to go.
From there the Sharks had their chances, however a couple of line ball calls went against them, added to a handful of Cronulla errors and it would be the Eels who came home the strongest, two late tries seeing escape with a 22-10 victory.
“It was the first hit out for the Matthews team and the Eels had a run under their belt already,” Morris said. “So it was pretty encouraging for our boys to play well first up against a team that was dominant in beating the Roosters in round one and who are rated amongst the contenders for the Matthews Cup competition.”
At least for the first 30 minutes of the match the SG Ball clash told a similar story, with the Sharks down 10-0 early before two tries had the teams’ level with half time approaching.
A late Eels try in the first period outing them in front 16-10 didn’t help, nor did serious injuries to key players and a 50 per cent completion rate from the Sharks, with the Parramatta side proving too good in the later stages of the second half.
“When the boys completed their sets and worked to their structure they looked as though they could put points on, but errors, silly errors in our own half let us down,” Morris said.
For the Sharks hooker Blayke Brailey was amongst their best, along with prop Zac Faulkner, winger Josh Tuilagi and utility Will Kennedy.
With a broken jaw suffered by five eighth Jaiden Brown and a fractured eye-socket to outside back Rusiate Lumelume the Ball Sharks will be licking their wounds ahead of their next assignment at home on Saturday.
Round three matches will see the Sharks host the Bulldogs in games to be played at Remondis Stadium. The Matthews Cup match is scheduled for a 12 noon kick off, with the SG Ball to get underway at 1.30pm.
Semisi Kioa, Jaeman Salmon tries, Luke Metcalf goal
Curtis Scott, Blayke Brailey, Jesse Savage tries, Jack Williams goal