The Cronulla Sharks under-20s will carry strong momentum into the Jersey Flegg finals after thrashing the Wests Tigers 42-10 in their last round clash at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
With 15 wins during the regular season, the Sharks finished second to give themselves the security of an extra chance in September.
It was a fantastic start for Cronulla on a drizzly Sutherland Shire day as they scored on the first set of the match.
Wests could not handle a well-placed Braydon Trindall bomb, allowing centre Jackson Ferris to collect the scraps and dive under the crossbar for his 12th try of the year.
Trindall converted for an early 6-0 lead.
A slew of errors slowed the Sharks' progress, but they claimed a second try through centre Bronson Xerri in the 15th minute.
After a fluent right-to-left shift, fullback Luke Polselli delivered a slick pass for Xerri to cross untouched.
The extras were added from the sideline.
Another four-pointer came in quick time. Capitalising on a long break from back-rower Josh Carr, the Sharks surged further ahead a few tackles later when Polselli slid over.
Halfback Trindall landed the conversion.
As half-time approached, the Sharks nabbed a fourth try with a determined effort from prop Blake Manowski after a tip-on from Carr.
Once again, Trindall nailed the goal for an imposing score of 24-0 at the break.
The Tigers enjoyed better field position and a chunk of possession to begin the second stanza, requiring the Sharks to defend stoutly.
In perhaps the most pleasing aspect for coach Dave Howlett, the black, white and blue wall was resolute.
Carr scored a brilliant try in the 46th minute, busting into the backfields off an inside pass before keeping the defence at bay to bag four points.
It was a deserved reward for the rangy edge forward, who produced a starring performance with his deft ball-playing and power running.
More points came courtesty of stand-in hooker Luke Jurd after he supported a clean burst from Ferris and then scooted away to score.
Jayden Millard successfully took over the kicking duties to put his side ahead by 36.
The majority of the remaining time played out on Cronulla's goal-line with the Tigers attacking.
Eventually the Sharks cracked in conceding an unconverted try down the right wing.
But Cronulla quickly pinched one back, exceeding the 40-point mark via rampaging prop Tom Hazelton.
Wests scored right on the full-time hooter through Henry Lealuga-Puhotau to salvage some respectability, though it didn't dampen a resounding Sharks victory.
Sharks 42 (Jackson Ferris, Bronson Xerri, Luke Polselli, Blake Manowski, Josh Carr, Luke Jurd, Tom Hazelton tries; Braydon Trindall five goals, Jayden Millard 2 goals)
Wests Tigers 10 (Liam Pakau, Henry Lealuga-Puhotau tries; Benjamin Stevanovic goal)
Following the completion of the 24-round regular season, the finals match up, venues and kick off times have been released, with the second-placed Sharks to play the Panthers in a qualifying final next week.
See below the week one finals schedule.
Saturday (1st September)
Jersey Flegg Cup – 11.00am = Parramatta v Canterbury
Jersey Flegg Cup – 3.15pm = Cronulla v Penrith
McDonald Jones Stadium
Jersey Flegg Cup - 12.40pm - Knights v Mounties
Sunday (2nd September)
Jersey Flegg Cup – 3.45pm = Roosters v Dragons