Junior Sharks come up short in Canberra
Updated: Mar 27
Pushing their way into opposition territory the Sharks were able to respond, winger Kailan Rehayem grabbing a slightly skewed cross field kick to touch down in the south-western corner.
Nikora Williams was able to convert from wide out and the Sharks were back in the game art 16-6 down. They were both competitive against quality opposition, however in the final washup the Sharks Matthews Cup and SG Ball teams have both gone down to the Raiders in Canberra in round seven junior representative matches.
The Matthews Sharks conceded an early lead, battled back and were eventually beaten 26-22, while in the SG Ball the Raiders remained undefeated with a 30-22 victory in the hot and steamy conditions.
The two losses have put the Sharks under pressure with two games remaining, with the junior Cronulla teams now needed two wins and other results to go their way should they hope to qualify for the respective competition Finals.
In the first match the Matthews Sharks were slow out of the blocks and with the weight of possession heavily in their favour, the Raiders had scored three times in the open 15 minutes to lead 16-0.
With their confidence restored and momentum shifting in their favour the Sharks scored again, this time through interchange forward Thomas Dellow with Williams adding the extras to make it 16-12, before an individual effort from Will Stewart, the Cronulla fullback slicing through the middle of the Raiders ruck to score on the stroke of half time and the teams went to the break level at 16-apiece.
Neither side was able to add to their score for the first 15 minutes of the second period, but in the 30-plus degree temperatures it would be the Sharks we were first to break, the Raiders scoring in the corner to go back in front 20-16.
Forced to do plenty of tackling the Sharks conceded another four-pointer with just 10 minutes of the match remaining, the Canberra try and conversion pushing out their lead to 10, however showing good resolve the young Cronulla side kept fighting, their efforts were rewarded with Zane Walker scoring to give them hope with three minutes left on the clock.
The Sharks looked to have stolen a win in the dying moments, but it was ruled hooker Daniel Louka was held up over the line, and In the final washup time ran out on the Sharks comeback with the Raiders holding on for a 26-22 win, leaving the Cronulla side likely needing wins in each of their last two matches to qualify for the Matthews Cup Finals.
The SG Ball match would then follow a similar pattern, the Raiders scoring first, although on this occasion it wouldn’t take the Sharks long to respond, stocky outside back Tre Fotu running over his opposite number to post his teams first points.
The Raiders would then control the next period of the contest, displaying good skill to cross under the uprights, then wide out and after two successful conversions had pushed the score out to 18-4.
Again the Ball Sharks would respond, winger Albert Litisoni diving spectacularly to plant the ball down inches from the corner post and when Bryce Sait was on target with his kick at goal trailing 18-10 the Sharks were back in the game.
A killer blow however came just seconds before the half time siren, hooker Owen Pattie on the end of a frantic exchange of passes to slide over under the uprights and with the easy conversion at 24-10 the Sharks had it all to do.
As expressed by coach Dave Howlett, the Ball Sharks were brave in the second half, scoring two tries as opposed to just one from the Raiders but it wasn’t enough to get the result.
‘I thought we tried hard, but we put ourselves under way too much pressure in the first half with a lack of care for the ball,” Howlett said. “I can’t fault the boys on their effort. They competed hard for 70 minutes but you’re not going to win a game against a good team when you give them as much ball as we did in the first half.”
The two Sharks junior rep teams play the Dragons next week in round eight matches.
MATTHEWS CUP SHARKS 22 Kailan Rehayem, Will Stewart, Thomas Dellow, Zane Walker tries, Nikora Williams 3 goals lost to RAIDERS 26
SG BALL SHARKS 22 Albert Litisoni, Tre Fotu, Dylan Coutts, Felix Faatili tries, Bryce Sait 3 goals lost to RAIDERS 30
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Pictures: Adam Wrightson
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Matthews Cup: https://photos.app.goo.gl/GwBAsyF9wn9ZBm369