The SG Ball Sharks have rebounded from a disappointing loss the previous week in scoring a vital 24-22 win over the Newcastle Knights in their round six junior rep clash on Saturday.
Playing a fellow finals aspirant, the win was crucial in keeping the under 18 Sharks in contention for a finals berth just three games from the end of the regular season.
In the other two matches played at the Sharks Academy Fields, the Matthews Cup Sharks suffered a 32-0 thumping at the hands of the Knights, while the Tarsha Gale girls were also beaten, going down by 28-12 to the Newcastle side.
But it was the final game of the day which brought the most excitement, the Sharks going to the break with a narrow two point lead, before a Tom Demeio try shortly after half time, also converted by the young hooker, giving his team an 18-10 advantage.
The Knights narrowed the gap once more with a converted try on the 50-minute mark, but the Sharks responded, Thomas Rodwell crossing, Demeio adding the extras, and the home team was again up by eight.
A late try to Newcastle gave the Sharks and their supporters some anxious moments but they were able to hold on and secure a valuable two competition points in pushing up to fifth on the SG Ball ladder.
The news wasn’t quite so positive in the earlier games, the Tarsha Gale girls falling behind by three tries, until Zali Hopkins opened the Sharks account with a four-pointer some 26 minutes into the contest, converted by Lynda Howarth and at 16-6 there was hope of a comeback against their Grand Final opponents of 2018.
From there however the Knights would go on with the job, three more tries sealing the win and keeping the Sharks winless so far this season.
After a slow start to the year and with a young and inexperienced squad, there was again some good signs shown by the Sharks girls, with a repeat of their recent efforts indicating a win isn’t far away.
In possibly the most disappointing performance on the day the Matthews Cup Sharks came into the game against the previously undefeated Knights with high hopes but were left disappointed after suffering a 32-0 loss.
The Sharks were overpowered by the young Newcastle side in the first half, falling behind 22-0 at the break, leaving themselves with plenty of work to do if they hoped to get back into the contest.
While they came out of half time with an aggressive attitude, improving their ball control and defensive efficiency, the Knights proved far too good, two more tries rounding out the win.
The Matthews Sharks, who now sit in sixth place on a bunched competition table, play the North Sydney Bears next weekend in a critical round seven match, kicking off at 10.30am.
The Ball Sharks also take on the Bears (12 noon), while Tarsha Gale squad face the Roosters Indigenous Academy team (9.00am).
Zali Hopkins, Lynda Howarth tries, Howarth 2 goals
Tom Demeio, Thomas Rodwell, Damon Smith, Kitione Kautoga tries, Demeio 4 goals