A week on from the Super Saturday trials against the Wests Tigers, it was the last chance for coaches to evaluate all the players who are vying for that all important spot in the starting line-ups for the opening round of the NSWRL representative season which commences on February 3rd.
There was plenty to like as the young Sharks laid a strong foundation for the season ahead in their third and final trials on Saturday.
The men's Harold Matthews (under 17s) and SG Ball (19s) teams hosted the formidable Bulldogs at Sharks Academy. Although they both lost by two tries, the coaches were heartened by the performances a fortnight out from round one.
Meanwhile, the women's Lisa Fiaola (17s) side took part in a three-way trial against the Central Coast Roosters and North Sydney Bears at Hills Grammar, Kenthurst, running out two-tries-to-one victors in both 30-minute hit-outs.
And the Tarsha Gale Cup (19s) squad maintained their unbeaten pre-season form with an impressive eight-tries-to-four win over the Bears.
Harold Matthews coach Brad Kelly took positives from what his team served up.
"It's getting better each week in terms of the quality of the play, but again discipline was a factor in it," Kelly said after the six-tries-to-four loss.
"A lot of penalties and six-agains which cruelled us, particularly in the first stanza of the game. But that’s what trials are for - to have another look at the boys, work on different combinations and different positional options.
"I was pleased with the effort, particularly in deference. The Bulldogs are big and powerful, so they threw a bit at us and I thought the boys did a really good job of handling them for most parts of the game."
Likewise, SG Ball coach Dave Howlett saw merit in his squad's narrow defeat.
"I thought the standard from both teams was pretty good," Howlett said.
"It was a bit sloppier than I would've liked, but as far as the boys' effort and cohesion, there was definitely some progress from last week to this week."
The Lisa Fiaola and Tarsha Gale Sharks begin their campaigns against Wests Tigers at PointsBet Stadium on February 3, preceding an SG Ball clash with Balmain. The Harold Matthews boys also kick things off against Balmain at Concord Oval.
"It's an important two weeks until round one … These two weeks are really important for the footy side of things, but also culturally and working on combinations and cohesion on and off the field," Howlett added.
"It's a very important two weeks to get right."
The u16 and u18 development squads got the week off with many of the boys heading down to support the Harold Matthews Cup and SG Ball Cup squads at Cronulla High.
Trial results - Saturday, January 20
Harold Matthews Cup
Sharks 4 tries lost to Bulldogs 6 tries
SG Ball Cup
Sharks 5 tries lost to Bulldogs 7 tries
Lisa Fiaola Cup
Sharks 2 tries beat CC Roosters 1 try
Sharks 2 tries beat Bears 1 try
Tarsha Gale Cup
Sharks 8 tries beat Bears 4 tries
Remember to follow the Cronulla JRL website and social media channels as we get ready to bring you all the action and excitement from the 2024 NSWRL junior representative season.
We wish our Junior Sharks all the very best on their journey to glory in this years NSWRL competitions.
See links below to photo galleries from the games at Cronulla High School thanks to Cronulla JRL Photographer - Adam Wrightson.
Harold Matthews Cup Trial - Sharks vs Bulldogs
View the full gallery of photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/hQPBfaoPJ1s4m8Zf8
SG Ball Cup Trial - Sharks vs Bulldogs
View the full gallery of photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/yfwrt2XMPkhq58E26