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First up win for Women Sharks

The Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Sharks have kicked off their 2023 campaign in the best possible fashion by beating defending premiers the Wests Tigers in a round one clash.

The Sharks rebounded from a slow start to beat the Tigers 30-18 in hot and steamy conditions at Campbelltown Stadium, in what was some sort of revenge for their overtime Grand Finals loss to the same opponent last year.

Ruan Sims in her first game in charge as head coach of the Sharks women’s team, although understanding of the fact there is a long way to go in the 2023 Harvey Norman season, was thrilled with her teams attitude and ability to hang in and get the result despite challenges along the way.

“We want to try to be more resilient. I know it’s a word that gets thrown around but we want to try to live that word,” Sims said. “If you get yourself into strife you need to try to get yourself out of it. We did that as a unit today, which was pleasing.

“We kept pushing through until the end. We had moments where we switched off a few times but were able to pull that back.”

Falling behind 12-0 early, as Sims explained the Sharks were forced to respond, which they were able to do, first half tries to Tayla Curtis and Brandi Davis Welsh seeing the teams go to the break with the Tigers at 12-10 in front.

Another Tigers try in the opening moments of the second period gave them an eight-point advantage, but from there it was all the Sharks, who dominated the final 25 minutes of the match to come away with an impressive win.

Sims downplayed her influence in getting her team up for the second half of the match, but whatever the message was it had the desired effect.

“I just said I wanted to see some better completions. We’d only completed two, three sets of six in that first half and you just can’t do that in a game of footy,” Sims explained.  

“(I said) you need to do better in that aspect and I wanted to see a bit of control in the ruck. We were letting them run through our middles too much. I challenged our middle forwards and I think they answered that in the second half.”

For the Sharks winger Ella Barker crossed twice, with Brandi Davis Welsh, Monique Donovan, and Rhiannon Byers also scoring second half tries, while experienced campaigner Maddie Studdon kicked three goals.

Obviously satisfied with the result, Sims was also pleased with the contributions made by a couple of newcomers and previously unheralded players on her Sharks team.

“We unearthed a couple of new talents, a couple of those girls scored and had good first up appearances,” she said.

“Tayla Curtis was really strong, Rhiannon Byers was really strong as well and Cassie Staples in her first appearance at the back was good for us.

“There is plenty of learning still to do, but also plenty to take out of that game,” Sims added.

The Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership Sharks play the St George Dragons at Kogarah Jubilee Oval next Saturday in a round two match. That game is scheduled to kick off at 2.30pm.

Ella Barker 2, Tayla Curtis, Brandi Davis Welsh, Monique Donovan, Rhiannon Byers tries, Maddie Studdon 3 goals

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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