Despite scoring three tries apiece the SG Ball Sharks have fallen just short in a high quality game, going down by 18-12 to a committed Newcastle Knights side.
The Sharks battled back from a 16-4 half time deficit to give themselves a chance at 16-12 with time left on the clock, however a Knights penalty goal completed the scoring and left the under-18 Cronulla side with some work to do over the final four rounds of the competition.
Newcastle scored first but the Sharks responded quickly, William Kennedy, deputising for injured number seven Jack Williams crossing for his teams’ first points.
The conversion from close range unfortunately missed to the left, leaving the Knights up by two points early in the contest.
Newcastle managed two more first half tries, one a spectacular long-range effort from their red-headed halfback Brendan O’Hagan, in going to the break with a handy 16-4 advantage.
The Sharks showed plenty of fight after half time and it was Jesse Savage who would edge them closer, the hard running back rower crashing through the defensive line to score wide out .
When the conversion attempt from Kyle Flanagan bounced off the right hand upright the score read 16-8 to the Knights but the Sharks had their tails up and plenty of time left on the clock.
Now with the momentum the Sharks crossed again, Kennedy showing great skill and pace to score a second and despite the conversion attempt again being unsuccessful at 16-12 Knights it was definitely game on.
The Sharks had a chance to level the score when a perfectly weighted Flanagan cross-field kick was dropped over the line, with the Knights marching up the field to kick the penalty goal and ultimately seal the result.
While the effort shown would have pleased Sharks coach Dave Howlett a lack of discipline a ball control at vital times would proved decisive in the final wash up.
The SG Ball Sharks will now join their Matthews Cup counterparts on a road trip to Canberra next week in what shapes as a very important match in terms of the Sharks finals aspirations.
William Kennedy 2, Jesse Savage tries