The Matthews Cup Sharks will be down but they certainly aren’t out after losing a nail biter by 20-18 to the Newcastle Knights.
In a match were the lead changed five times, the Sharks came up just short, with the Knights going to the front inside the final 10 minutes then hanging on for the win.
Despite the loss however the under-16 Sharks, courtesy of their second-place finish after the regular season, still move on, with the loss setting up a sudden-death match next weekend against the Penrith Panthers.
The Sharks were on the back foot early when the Knights opened their account in the first three minutes of the match via a long-range runaway try.
Bouncing straight back the Sharks got within two when hooker Isaac Longmuir showed strength and determination to crash over from close range and when the conversion attempt bounced off the left upright the Knights had an early 6-4 lead.
The Knights extended their advantage to 12-4, before a second Longmuir try, this one converted by Kai Broadhurst, made it 12-10, a score which would stand until the break.
The second half would begin with the Sharks taking their first lead of the day courtesy of a Declan Casey try, before the Knights went back in front 16-14 with a four-pointer of their own.
Again the lead would change with the Sharks going back in front when Cameron O’Connor crossed, with the missed conversion making it 18-16 entering the last 15 minutes of the match.
Unfortunately for the young Sharks they wouldn’t be able to defend that lead, a Knights try taking them to the front once again and as hard as the young Cronulla side tried their couldn’t bridge the gap.
The Matts Cup Sharks however move on to a sudden death final next weekend against the Panthers.
Coach Glenn Brailey was disappointed with the result but positve about the Sharks chances of rebounding next weekend.
Isaac Longmuir 2, Cameron O’Connor, Declan Casey tries, Kai Broadhurst goal