Ball Sharks beaten in GF
The Sharks have failed to overcome a slow start in going down by 30-22 to the Parramatta Eels in the SG Ball Grand Final.
Always chasing their opponents after giving up a two try lead early in the match, the Sharks mounted a brave second half comeback only to come up short in a match where crucial decisions and the bounce of the ball went against them.
Errors at vital stages, two disallowed tries late in the match and a controversial Parramatta penalty try were ultimately the difference between the two sides.
The game began disastrously for the Sharks with the Eels scoring on the back of an error in the opening three minutes of the match.
The try was converted from wide out and the Parramatta side extended that advantage just three minutes later with the same player in Ethan Parry, albeit from a different attacking play, crossing for his second.
Again the conversion was successful and the Eels were well on top at 12-0 seven minutes into the contest.
The Sharks however showed plenty of character and composure in the remainder of the first period and were rewarded for their effort, lock Monty Raper crashing over from close range to narrow the gap.
Luke Metcalf added the extras and it was 12-6 the Eels, a score which would stay the same up until the half time break.
Unfortunately the second half began in a similar fashion to the first, a Sharks error gifting the Eels field position and from there they took advantage, five eighth Joseph Taipari displaying good footwork to slice through and score under the posts.
The conversion as on target and it was 18-6 Eels four minutes into the second period.
A penalty pushed the lead out to 20-6, before the moment and decision that probably put the result out of the Sharks reach, when a penalty try was awarded after an Eels kick chaser was brought down in the in-goal area.
With the simple kick at goal it was 26-6 Eels with 23 minutes of the match remaining.
A try to Ronaldo Mulitalo when he burrowed over from dummy half made it 24-10 and when Jaemon Salmon scored shortly after following a Mulitalo line break, the Sharks had reason for some optimism at 26-16 with 12 minutes left.
That hope then went up another notch when Teig Wilton burst through the Parramatta defensive line and outpaced the chasers on a 50-metre run to the line and it was game on with still eight minutes on the clock.
Ultimately however it would be another Sharks handling error, on the first set of six following the kick off, which proved to be their downfall, Parry scoring a third for the Eels to push their lead back out to eight points at 30-22 with time running out.
A 50-50 decision for a forward pass when the Sharks had appeared to score under the posts, then another disallowed try when Salmon was ruled to have dropped the ball over the line, saw the Eels escape and the young Cronulla side leave Leichhardt Oval disappointed.
For the Sharks Raper and James Roumanos were outstanding in the middle, Wilton dangerous on the edge and centres Bronson Xerri and Mulitalo busy out wide.
Monty Raper, Jaemon Salmon, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Teig Wilton tries, Luke Metcalf 3 goals
Ethan Parry 3, Joseph Taipari tries, Dylan Brown penalty try, Kyle Schneider 5 goals