MATCH REPORT | Game 3
In a heartbreaking result the Sharks have bowed out of the NRL Auckland Nines after going down by 18-6 to the Raiders in their final pools match.
The Sharks finished level with the Raiders and Titans in the Piha Pool with all teams registering two wins, however when the for-and-against was added it up it left the Sharks one differential point behind the Raiders and three adrift of the Titans, meaning they had finished in third position in the group.
After such a positive day one at the Nines it was a disappointing way to go out for the Sharks who managed to go all the way to the competition final in 2015.
In a game which was more of a defensive struggle than a typical game of Nines, the Sharks were immediatley on the back-foot when Canberra scored early.
The Sharks bounced back courtesy of a try to Sam Tagataese off a clever Joseph Paulo pass, before Canberra made it 8-6 Raiders at the break but the Sharks were close enough if good enough.
Canberra were next to score and when Sam Williams converted from near touch at 14-6 behind the Sharks had to push the pace in a bid to work their way back into the match.
Unfortunately the desperation shown by the Sharks resulted in some errors and the Raiders managed to capitalise, another try wide out pushing the score out to 18-6 and margin of 12 meant the Cronulla side had slipped outside the top two in their division.
Try as they did over the closing moments the Raiders held firm, moving through to the quarters and knocking the Sharks out of finals contention.
In looking for positives from the negative result, the Sharks managed to blood two of their up and coming under 20's stars in Jayden Brailey and Bessie Aufuga-Toomaga, while Josh Cleeland was amongst his teams better performed players in the final game.
The Sharks will now return home with a trial match against Manly next Sunday, to be followed by a Season Launch.
Sam Tagataese try, Jack Bird goal