Townsend kicks Sharks into action
Chad Townsend starred on Sunday afternoon, with his kicking game the catalyst in seeing the Sharks to an 18-points-to-2 lead at the half-time break.
Townsend’s assist in Val Holmes’ 36th minute try came off the back of two kicks, before he placed a deft grubber and regathered to score on the stroke of half time himself.
But perhaps though it was Townsend’s clearing kick in the 19th minute – one of the many balls spilled by Kurt Mann on the afternoon – that paved the way for the side to take the ascendency on Sunday.
Mann’s error saw the Sharks earn a repeat set, and the momentum of the match swung on the back of the play.
Lewis’ engine still firing on all cylinders
Age shall not weary the ever-green Luke Lewis, if Sunday’s performance versus the Dragons is anything to go by.
In his 66 minutes on the park Lewis ran for 123 metres from his 16 carries, racking up 23 tackles in his time without the ball in hand.
Lewis took a well-earned spell with near on 15 minutes on the clock when the result was put well beyond doubt by Jayson Bukuya’s try.
Sharks forwards front up in Gallen, Heighington’s absence.
Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan was on Friday questioned how his side would fare without stalwarts Paul Gallen and Chris Heighington in his starting pack – the men called into their places went about answering the question, and did so in emphatic fashion.
Joseph Paulo showed his wares on debut, while Wade Graham and Jayson Bukuya went about their usual work in fine form.
But it was the Fifita twins who rose most to the occasion – the pair running for a combined 250 metres from 30-plus carries.
Sam Tagataese put a final exclamation on the match in the 80th minute – his slamming tackle going close to knocking Jack de Belin into next week.
Benny’s jets as quick as ever they were
Southern Cross Group Stadium rose as one when Sharks fullback Ben Barba cut the Dragons defence to shreds in the first half.
Barba’s turn of foot on a second-man run to score brought back memories of his Dally M form of 2012 – with fans around the ground left wanting to see more of the same from the nippy number 1 in 2016.
Fans turn Southern Cross Group Stadium Black, White and Blue.
Is there anything better than Sunday afternoon footy under a sun-bathed Southern Cross Group Stadium?
Fans of the game voted with their feet yesterday, as more than 17,000 supporters were on hand to watch the local derby play out.
The spectacle pre-game as fans on the Eastern side of the ground held aloft black, white and blue cards was something to behold, while the noise around the ground took everyone back.
Sentiments around the ground also echoed that the return of former ground announcer Glenn Wheeler to the Stadium was a fitting touch, on what was a remarkable afternoon.