Despite going down by 20-10 in their last round match against Souths the Matthews Cup Sharks have still qualified for the competition finals.
With injuries in a few key positions disrupting their preparation and throwing out the combinations built up in recent weeks, the Sharks were below their best as they failed to recover from a 14-0 half time deficit in the match played at Redfern Oval.
After what would have been a half time rev-up from coach Glenn Brailey the Sharks showed signs of improvement in the early stages of the second period and when Fine Kula crashed over for their first points, converted by half back Luke Metcalf, at 14-6 behind it was anyone’s game.
Unfortunately for the Sharks an error from the ensuing kick off gifted Souths field position and when rangy centre Campbell Graham crossed shortly after the margin was back out to 14 with the Rabbits up 20-6.
Leading the way for the Sharks Kula proved too strong in going over for his second, but that would be as close as the visitors would get as the young Souths side defended grimly to ensure their place in the top eight.
For the Sharks the loss means they slip out of the top four and therefore lose their second chance in the finals series and in finishing fifth have set up a likely matchup with the Manly Sea Eagles.
The Sharks finishing position and finals opponent will be confirmed once all results from the weekend matches are complete.
The Matthews Sharks wound up on 11 competition points from their nine matches, made up of four wins, three losses, a draw and a bye.
The Sharks website will publish the finals opponent, venue and kick off time once it becomes available.
Fine Kula 2 tries, Luke Metcalf goal
Photo - Steve Montgomery/ourfootyteam.com