In a match pivotal to their finals aspirations, the Matthews Cup Sharks have held off a determined Illawarra Steelers to win 28-22 in their Friday night match-up at Remondis Stadium.
Starting the game in seventh place and equal on points with the Steelers, the Sharks had their moments, scoring some excellent tries, but at the same time letting themselves down with some simple errors.
In the final washup however the under-16’s Sharks showed good courage and commitment to break at 22-all deadlock with a late try which would seal the win.
The Steelers were on the board early with a long-range try but the momentum quickly shifted and consecutive tries to Kai Broadhurst, then Trace Davidson after a Broadhurst kick, put the Sharks on top by 12-4.
The young Sharks continued to press and when Bronson Xerri dived over wide out at 16-4 the home team was well on top.
Sharks mistakes and a couple of Steeler penalties invited their opponents back into the match, with an Illawarra try, converted from close range, making it 16-10 with half time approaching.
Enjoying a little bit of luck another Broadhurst kick resulted in a try when the bounce of the ball favoured half back Luke Metcalf with the Sharks going to the break ahead 22-10.
The Steelers scored early in the second period to make it 22-16, before a try with 14 minutes remaining, which was converted, leveled the scores and set up a grandstand finish.
While last weekend against the Raiders the Sharks failed to hold out their opponents and were forced to settle for a draw, this time around they would be denied, big front rower Fine Kula crashing over under the posts to put his team in front seven minutes from time.
Despite a few anxious moments the Sharks would hold on, claiming two points that will certainly prove valuable in their fight for a finals berth.
The win will consolidate the Matthews Sharks position inside the top eight, with games against the Dragons and Rabbitohs to finish their regular season.
Kai Broadhurst, Luke Metcalf, Bronson Xerri, Trace Davidson, Fine Kula tries, Metcalf 4 goals
Photo courtesy Steve Montgomery - ourfootyteam.com