For many it was their first opportunity to play in Sharks jerseys when Academy teams took on the Junior Bunnies in matches played at Erskineville Oval and at Pioneer Park in Malabar yesterday.
Teams in the under 13’s, 14’s, 15’s, 17’s and an NYC Development squad in the under 19’s were brought together at the start of June and have been training under the watchful eye of Sharks coaching staff, with the matches played on Wednesday their chance to take what they had learned out on to the playing field.
And the outcome was positive, with all teams competitive in the respective games played.
The day began with the Sharks 13’s against the youngest of the Souths squads, with the Cronulla boys giving up plenty of weight and size to their opponents.
The first half saw the teams locked at three tries all, before the Bunnies asserted some authority, however the Sharks 13’s should have been proud of their efforts with their performance improving the longer the match went on and once the nerves had settled.
In awards presented after fulltime Jed Hardy from Gymea was named the Sharks best forward, Kristian Dixon of St Pats the best back.
In the 14’s it was a closely fought affair, with Souths sneaking home by one try, but the result was somewhat secondary, with the Sharks unearthing plenty of talent in the day.
Dylan Folesita and Dane Courtney were adjudged the best for the Sharks.
In the under 15’s, the final match played at Erskineville Oval it was one way traffic, with the Sharks impressive in racking up seven tries in the 60-minute contest.
It was a comprehensive win for the Sharks and one which provides a positive pointer to their hopes in the under-16’s Matthews Cup competition in 2017.
De La Salle’s Eliah Veikoso was awarded best back for the Sharks, Trevor Taufa of Yarrawarrah the best forward.
Later in the day the matches switched to Malabar and to Pioneer Park, with the Sharks again playing Souths in under 17’s and in an NYC development trial.
Again in mirroring the the 15’s, the Sharks proved too good in scoring a seven tries to nil result.
A patched up Sharks outfit, with a number of players withdrawn due to them having playing commitments with the NYC team on Sunday, then played Souths in a 19’s match to complete the day.
Sharks Development Manager Vinh Tran expressed his satisfaction in all age groups and matches and looked forward to all teams tackling the Bulldogs next Wednesday.
The Sharks v Bulldogs academy matches will be played at Killara Oval at Milperra, beginning at 10am.