Young Sharks off to a winning start
Updated: Feb 6
For the Matthews Cup Sharks the damage was done late in their win over the Balmain Tigers, while it was a dominant first half where their SG Ball counterparts set up a comprehensive victory, with the two Sharks junior rep sides scoring convincing round one wins.
For the under-17 Matts Cup boys 20 unanswered points after falling behind 6-4 early in the second half propelled them to a 24-6 victory, while a sizzling opening 15 minutes, where they jumped out to a 18-0 lead, laid the platform for a 42-24 triumph for the under-19 SG Ball outfit.
It was a strong start from both Sharks teams, playing away from home and against a traditionally tough opponent.
After going to half time up by 4-0, early Tigers pressure saw them cross for a try to open up a 6-4 lead in the first five minutes of the second half of the Matthews Cup clash.
From the kickoff a Tigers error presented the Sharks with field position and after lock Alex Challenor, amongst the Sharks best on the day, crashed over under the uprights, the Cronulla side had regained the momentum at 10-4 in front.
Now controlling the ball and the field position on a steamy morning at Leichhardt Oval the Sharks would cross for three more tries, two of them converted by Jayze Tuigamala and the victory and two competition points were secured.
Challenor was a standout for the Sharks, but he was ably supported by backrower Kaden Garner who worked tirelessly throughout, while centres Tuigamala and Nikora Williams had some good moments out wide.
In the SG Ball match to follow, the under-19 Sharks were unstoppable early, the middle forwards led by Felix Faatili, Sam McCullough and Lachlan Crossle were too much for their opponents to handle and just 11 minutes into the contest if was 18-0 to the visiting Cronulla team.
The Tigers scored to give themselves some hope, but that was quickly snuffed out, two more tries, both converted by Bryce Sait who kicked seven from seven on the day, and it was 30-6 at the half time break.
Losing some concentration in the stifling heat and with such a big half time lead the Sharks took their foot off the pedal somewhat, but in crossing for seven tries in the 42-24 win, proved far too good on the day.
While the forwards were dominant, with the likes of Lachlan Araullo and Junior Taupau just as damaging as the starters when coming off the bench, edge players Lawson Cotter and Luke Raymond supported their middlemen and centres Talanoa Penitani and Jacob Taulani played strongly out wide to keep their team on the front foot.
The two Sharks junior rep teams play the North Sydney Bears next weekend in round two matches.
MATTHEWS CUP Sharks 24 Kailan REHAYEM 2, Alex Challenor, Nikora WILLIAMS, Beau WATSON tries, Jayze Tuigamala 2 goals beat Tigers 6
SG BALL Sharks 42 Samuel McCulloch 2, Felix Faatili, Dylan Christensen, Osca Catton, Luke Raymond, Junior Taupau tries, Bryce Sait 7 goals beat TIGERS 24
Don't forget to also visit sharks.com.au for more news and photos about the Sharks and Sharks junior representative teams.
Pictures: Adam Wrightson
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The first run-out of the season against the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval...