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Junior Sharks enjoy solid trials against Souths

A host of junior Sharks benefitted from solid trial hit-outs against South Sydney despite taxing conditions on Saturday, encouraging the respective coaches as they shape their squads for 2024.

Results were positive overall across five games at Redfern Oval, with the Tarsha Gale, SG Ball and Harold Matthews Development teams running out winners while the Lisa Fiaola and Harold Matthews Cup sides lost but showed promise.

To combat the heat and allow the coaches to rotate through extended benches, the girls played 20-minute thirds and the boys contested 15-minute quarters.

There were no shots at goal given the focus was on testing combinations and affording players a chance to prove themselves rather than the scoreboard.

The women kicked off proceedings, the Lisa Fiaola (under 17s) side competing hard in a five-tries-to-four defeat before the Tarsha Gale (under 19s) squad impressed as they crossed for six four-pointers while conceding four times.

Next up was the boys in the Harold Matthews Development (under 16s), scoring four tries to three under the guidance of Sharks legend Paul Gallen. The premiership-winning former NRL captain said he was proud of the team's display after a strong training block and highlighted the performance of his halves.

While the Harold Matthews (under 17s) lost seven tries to two, coach Brad Kelly expects his team to improve sharply after being taught valuable lessons.

"There were some decent parts, but there was also a lot of scrappiness, errors and penalties," Kelly stated.

"There were patches in the game where all we did was tackle and there were patches in the game where we looked a bit better, but that's what trials are for.

"They've been training for six weeks or so now and it's good that we get a hit-out and we get to see things that we've learnt and try to put into practice.

"I would've liked it to be a bit cleaner and less error-riddled and penalty-ridden, but part of the process is learning how important it is to not give away penalties and not make those basic errors that compound on you, especially when it's so hot."

The day ended on a high with the SG Ball (under 19s) recording a six-tries-to-one win as coach Dave Howlett utilised a 26-man side, handing minutes to players from Queensland, New Zealand and the under 18s development squad.

"It was a great little window into the depth the club has and an opportunity to show the club and their teammates what they can do as a player," Howlett said.

"I like giving opportunities to young fellas ... It's exciting for them to come and play for a team that's aligned with an NRL club and they all did themselves proud."

Howlett kept around 10 players who featured in last year's SG Ball squad on ice, with further trial action to come before the competition starts in February.

"I'm really enjoying it this year. They're a really good crew of boys," Howlett added.

"Footy-wise they've got a lot to learn and grow with, but they're really good characters, they get on really well and it's fun. It's pleasure to coach them."

See links below to photo galleries from all games thanks to Cronulla JRL Photographer - Adam Wrightson.

Results from Saturday, December 16

Lisa Fiaola Cup

Sharks four tries lost to Souths five tries

View the full gallery of photos:

Tarsha Gale Cup

Sharks six tries defeated Souths four tries

View the full gallery of photos:

Under 16s Harold Matthews Development

Sharks four tries defeated Souths three tries

View the full gallery of photos:

Harold Matthews Cup

Sharks two tries lost to Souths seven tries

View the full gallery of photos: 

SG Ball Cup

Sharks six tries defeated Souths one try

View the full gallery of photos: 

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