Sharks ‘around the grounds’
The 78th minute James Maloney field goal and subsequent one-point victory in the NRL match on Saturday, capped what could be termed as a weekend of mixed results for Sharks teams across all grades over the past weekend.
The Sharks were in action at Southern Cross Group Stadium and at the Academy Fields at Cronulla High School, with four wins and three losses recorded from the seven matches played.
See our brief wrap of all the games involving Sharks teams, including our Intrust Super Premiership partners the Newtown Jets, in ‘around the grounds’ for this week.
What was seemingly a match cruising along to a comfortable win turned into a nail-biter for the Sharks in the NRL clash with Knights, the Maloney field goal helping his team escape with a narrow 19-18 win and the all-important two competition points.
The match featured a length of the field try by Valentine Holmes, as well as a couple of concentration lapses, letting the Knights back into the contest, which had Sharks coach Shane Flanagan frustrated and disappointed after the game.
All ended well however, the Sharks maintained a place inside the top eight and kept them within striking distance of the top four as attention now turned towards a Grand Final rematch with the Storm in Melbourne.
Holmes, Beale, Feki tries, Maloney 3 goals and a field goal
Again it probably wasn’t a game that would feature amongst the best John Morris has been associated with as either a player or now in his role as a coach, but it was a win and at 32-22 a match his side had reasonable control of throughout.
The Sharks would establish a lead, let their opponents back in, reassert their authority, only for the Knights to again reply and make the game a contest.
In the end result the Sharks would however prove too good for their opponents and with a record of three wins and two losses are in sixth place after the opening five rounds.
On a positive back-rower Briton Nikora was a standout, scoring two tries, running for 193 metres and breaking 12 tackles.
They play the top-of-the-table Melbourne Storm in a match scheduled to take place on the Sunshine Coast, this weekend.
Katoa 2, Nikora 2, Aufaga-Toomaga, Faulua tries, Flanagan 4 goals
In the Intrust Super Premiership match, played at Southern Cross Group Stadium as a curtain-raiser to the NRL match, the Jets were unfortunately outplayed, going down by 28-18 to the Newcastle Knights.
Too many errors and a few defensive lapses proved their downfall, although the result was still in the balance until the Knights sealed it with a long range try inside the final five minutes.
A number of Sharks-contracted players turned out for the Jets, with Manaia Cherrington providing a spark in attack, Joseph Paulo worked hard in playing no both the back row and at five eighth, while Jayden Walker’s encouraging progress continues on the Newtown right hand edge.
In the end however the Jets were left disappointed, going down in a match they would have pencilled in for a win, especially considering the abundance of NRL talent they had at their disposal.
The Jets travel to Auckland next weekend to play the Warriors.
NEWTOWN JETS 18
T Williams, Paulo, Drew tries; Brown 3 goals
Newcastle Knights 28
In the match played immediately following the NRL match last Saturday night, the Sharks were left somewhat stunned by an energetic and highly capable Knights side.
It was closely fought affair, with the Newcastle girls running out 16-12 winners.
With the two teams locked at 6-all at half time, it was the Knights to take a four-point advantage, before a converted Sharks try put them out to a narrow two-point lead.
The match result was then sealed by a late Knights try scored under the uprights, sending the Novocastrians home happy and on the end of what might be deemed by some as an upset result.
The Sharks Women’s Series team is next in action on April 22 before the Sharks v Titans NRL match.
Vetty-Welsh, Stowers tries, Studdon 2 goals
After proving dominant through an undefeated seven rounds of the SG Ball competition the Sharks under-18s were on the end of their first loss when beaten 24-18 by the Penrith Panthers on Saturday.
Following on from a 78-0 victory the week before the Sharks couldn’t quite match the intensity of the Panthers and despite being in the contest right up until the final whistle, the Panthers would prevail.
No loss could ever be considered a good one, however just two weeks out from the competition finals it could have just been the wake-up call this talented squad needed.
The Ball Sharks still sit first on the competition table despite the loss, with a possible rematch against the fourth-placed Panthers looming in week one of the Finals.
Cronulla Sharks 18
Metcalf, Raper, Xerri tries; Metcalf 3 goals
Penrith Panthers 24
After suffering their first loss of 2017 the previous week the Matthews Cup Sharks bounced back with a strong victory over the Panthers to consolidate their position near the top of the competition table.
Too many Sharks errors in the first half gave their opponents plenty of hope, however the home side shifted into another gear in the second period, dismantling the Penrith side and going on to record a win which will give them plenty of confidence with the finals just around the corner.
The Sharks scored seven tries on the day, Eliah Veikoso crossing for a double, with possibly the most pleasing aspect of the win for coach Glenn Brailey being the fact that the Penrith side was kept scoreless in the second half.
The under-16 Matthews Sharks sit in second place on the ladder with one game to play, against the Western Sydney Academy of Sport, with a win set to ensure they finish in the top four at the end of the regular season.
Cronulla Sharks 38
Veikoso 2, Burke, Demeio, Masima, Parker, Levi tries; Demeio 4 goals
Penrith Panthers 12
Tarsha Gale Cup
After consecutive losses and up against the competition-leading Parramatta Eels the Tarsha Gale Cup girls rose to the challenge in scoring an impressive 30-20 win.
Using their speed and athleticism to advantage, the Sharks would cross for six tries as opposed to five from the Eels, with the three Akira Kelly conversions giving them some breathing space.
Kelly also crossed for three tries in what was a match-winning effort from the young Shark.
The Eels and Sharks appeared on track to meet again during the finals series, with this win to give the Cronulla girls a shot of much-needed confidence ahead of the big games coming up.
Cronulla Sharks 30
Kelly 3, Dodd 2, Hazelton tries; Kelly 3 goals
Parramatta Eels 20