At Mascot Oval it was the Matthews Cup and SG Ball Sharks confirming their places in the finals, before the Tarsha Gale girls beat the Bulldogs at Belmore to also book a spot in the playoffs in a dramatic last round of matches on Saturday.
While their 26-10 against a committed Dragons side wasn't perfect for the Matthews Cup side in seeing them finish the season in sixth position, the SG Ball Sharks were forced to get the calculators out after beating St George 26-12 in their round nine match.
From there is came down to for-and-against, with the Panthers playing the winless West Coast Pirates needing a huge win to sneak into the eight and despite beating the Perth-based side 70 to 18, it wasn't enough to leap frog the Sharks who ended the regular season 12 differential points to the good of Penrith in eight place.
As for the Tarsha Gale Cup Sharks, the girls again displayed the marked improvement they have made since the early rounds of the competition in beating the Canterbury girls 32-6 to qualify for the finals.
Jamie Chapman was outstanding for the Cronulla side, scoring inside the first minute in an impressive four-try performance. Zali Hopkins also crossed for try tries in the win.
After a slow start, the Tarsha Sharks won their final three games and finishing the season in seventh, with a match against the sixth-placed Penrith Panthers awaiting them in week one of the finals.
Back at Mascot Oval and it was the Matthews Cup Sharks who ran into a St George side who while having little to play for, made the Cronulla boys work for their win.
The Sharks fell behind 10-8 early in the second half, before lifting their game and coming home over the top, two tries in the final five minute possibly flattering the under-16’s Sharks but at the same time confirming what was a crucial victory.
Fullback Kristian Dixon scored two four-pointers and kicked two goals in the Sharks win.
Then finally in an SG Ball clash where nothing short of a victory would have qualified them for the under-18’s finals, the Sharks scored early through Thomas Rodwell, then Kade Dykes, took a 22-0 half time lead and from their the result was never in doubt.
The only unknown was by how many the Panthers could beat the Pirates and when the margin wasn't quite great enough the Sharks would live to fight another day.
In next week’s finals the Tarsha Gale girls play the Panthers, as do the Matthews Cup Sharks, while the Cronulla SG Ball squad face the Bulldogs.
The Sharks finals schedules are below with all games to be played at the HE LAYBUTT SPORTING COMPLEX, Reservoir Rd, Blacktown, on Saturday.
Saturday, April 13
9:30am - Panthers (6th) v Sharks (7th) | Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup
10:45am - Panthers (6th) v Sharks (7th) | UNE Harold Matthews Cup
12:15pm – Bulldogs (5th) v Sharks (8th) | UNE SG Ball Cup
Other games not involving the Sharks
1:45pm – Knights (1st) v Bulldogs (4th) | UNE Harold Matthew Cup
3:15pm – Knights (2nd) v Wests Tigers (3rd) | Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup
4:30pm – Raiders (8th) v Eels (5th) | Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup
5:45pm – Tigers (7th) Raiders (6th) | UNE SG Ball Cup
Round 9 results
St George 10
St George 12