The NSW Harvey Norman Women's Premiership Sharks have gone down 13-12 in a golden point thriller in their Grand Final qualifying match against the Central Coast Roosters.
The Sharks levelled the scores at 12-all in the dying moments following a try to young winger Zali Fay and a clutch conversion from a difficult angle by Maddi Studdon, however a field goal to the Roosters in the extra time period would ultimately decide the result.
It was a heartbreaking finish for the Sharks who had battled hard against the competition's minor premiers.
The Roosters jumped out to a 4-0 lead then extended that to eight with a second try, before a Corban McGregor four-pointer and Studdon conversion saw the Sharks bounce back.
Down 12-6 following a third Central Coast try, with time ticking, the Sharks showed great resilience to hang in and were rewarded with the Fay try, then the conversion from Studdon, which bounced off the cross bar and went over to level the scores and send the match into extra time.
As recounted by Sharks coach Glenn Brailey, errors in the first half put his team under pressure and despite a determined effort to fight back, in the end they came up agonisingly short.
"Our on line defence was good, but we put more pressure on ourselves than we needed to in that first half with a poor completion rate and too many penalties," Brailey said.
"At half time and we knew we'd have to go back to basics which we did, we completed better and played in their half of the field more often which then converted into points.
"It seemed like we were coming home a lot stronger, with more gas in the tank, but in extra time we probably lacked a little bit of patience, they marched down the field, got a very fast play the ball and sealed the game with a field goal," Brailey added.
The one-pointer came from Roosters half back Melanie Howard with the Sharks now forced to regroup ahead of a sudden-death clash next week as they look to win their way into a premiership-deciding rematch with the Central Coast the week following.
The Sharks face the North Sydney Bears, who beat the Wests Tigers 16-4 earlier in the day.
Corban McGregor, Zali Fay tries, Maddison Studdon 2 goals
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Lead photo - Sharks back rower Talei Holmes - photo courtesy Steve Montgomery, OurFootyTeam.com.au