The SG Ball Sharks, in perhaps their most complete performance of the season so far, have beaten the Illawarra Steelers 34-16 at Remondis Stadium.
Playing a side well-entrenched inside the top eight, the Sharks jumped out to a first half lead courtesy of three Billy Magoulias tries and were never headed, going on to cross the stripe six times on the night.
Sitting in 12th place before the weekend round of matches, the Sharks kept their finals hopes alive with two rounds of the SG Ball competition remaining.
The start of the match hardly gave anyone the impression the Sharks had the game to challenge the Steelers, with the visitors scoring twice, one a 100-metre runaway, to jump out to a 12-0 advantage.
The next period of the match then became the Magoulias ‘show’, with the Sharks lock in the middle of the action in showing his abilities and experience as he crossed for three consecutive tries, all converted by Jack Williams and all of a sudden the Sharks had assumed a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Jesse Savage, a damaging runner on the Sharks left hand side, went over for his teams fourth early in the second period, before Cam Scott virtually sealed the win when he touched down from a Kyle Flanagan kick to make it 34-12 with less than a quarter of the match to go.
Luis Strickland then went over wide out to put the result beyond doubt.
The Steelers managed a consolation try late in the contest but the Sharks had done enough to record just their second win of the 2015 season, but a victory which sees them move to seven competition points and well and truly into contention for a top eight berth.
Magoulias’s first half was outstanding in helping to set up the win, Savage ran hard all night, while prop Daniel Vasquez was a tower of strength in the middle of the field.
Captain Curtis Scott was his usual busy self, while Flanagan in the halves had some classy touches.
The Ball Sharks now have two matches remaining, against the Dragons and Rabbitohs and will need to win both matches to qualify for the finals.
Billy Magoulias 3, Jesse Savage, Luis Strickland, Cameron Scott tries, Jack Williams 5 goals