It was a case of what might have been for the Matthews Cup and SG Ball Sharks, with both young Sharks teams going down in their respective round four matches played at PointsBet Stadium on Sunday.
In the Matthews Cup the under-16 Sharks held a narrow lead late in the game, only for a drop out error to change the momentum, with Penrith dominating the closing 10 minutes in claiming a 34-20 victory in a match where the final score line didn’t reflect the closeness of the contest.
While in the SG Ball the Sharks had an opportunity to move within striking distance of the Warriors, however the last pass went begging on a certain try, with the New Zealand boys going immediately down the other end of the field to ice the game before pulling away late for a 38-14 win.
The two losses leave the two Sharks teams with one-win, two-loss records and in desperate need of victory when they travel to Canberra this weekend.
In the Matthews Cup, the young Sharks showed a lot of character in coming back from an early deficit, taking the lead when hard-running young prop Zane Watson crashed over with around 15 minutes of the match remaining.
Unfortunately, with the Sharks looking to land the killer blow an error let their opponents off the hook and the Panthers side would go on with the job.
As they did the week before, the Cronulla middle forwards, led by Watson, Lachlan Crossle and Lachlan Araullo did an outstanding job against a bigger opposition pack, while fullback Siteni Taukamo scored two tries and was dangerous when chiming into the backline.
In the under-18’s match the SG Ball Sharks started strongly against a big and skilful Warriors outfit, winger Te Wehi Waitere touching down on the end of a slick backline play.
The Sharks hung in, conceding just one try in the first half to trail 6-4 at the break, but the opening of the second period was all the Warriors, two tries in the first five minutes pushing their advantage out to 14 points. From there the Cronulla side battled hard but were unable to bridge the gap, the Kiwis running out convincing winners.
Centre Douglas Levi, back rower Kitione Kautoga and five eighth Kade Dykes had their moments for the Sharks however the Warriors proved to be too good on the day.
The Sharks play Canberra in Canberra in round 5.
Kitione Kautoga, Sam Stonestreet, Te Wehi Waitere tries, Romano Cook goal
Siteni Taukamo 2, Tyrell Fakuaua, Zane Watson tries, Taukamo 2 goals