Rock­ing­ham Sharks’ great achieve­ment

IM­PRES­SIVE RECORD IN MILE­STONE YEAR

Kwinana Courier - - Front Page - Peter Rowe

ROCK­ING­HAM Sharks are the Smarter Than Smok­ing Premier­ship mi­nor pre­miers for 2017.

It is the first se­nior first-grade mi­nor premier­ship in their his­tory, as the club pre­pares to cel­e­brate its 30th birth­day this week­end.

They have their de­fen­sive strength to thank for this achieve­ment, by far the best record in the league this year.

“That is our first of three KPIs com­pleted,” pres­i­dent Dale Christy said.

“Now we have two more games to win to reach the grand fi­nal and then to win it.”

Last Satur­day at Ad­mi­ral Park the Sharks fought out a tough en­counter with a Joon­dalup Gi­ants side still try­ing to se­cure fi­nals foot­ball, even­tu­ally pre­vail­ing 26-6.

For the first half-hour the game was score­less as each side made mis­takes.

It was in­tense and pas­sion­ate as the out­stand­ing Ge­ordie Con­nelly went clos­est to scor­ing be­fore a big 60m break from winger Con­nor Hud­son put the Sharks in con­trol.

A Con­nelly break and pass in the 33rd minute gave full­back Ben­ton Pyako the op­por­tu­nity to find the white­wash and the Pa­pua New Guinean zipped be­tween two de­fend­ers to open his ac­count for the day.

Tyler Hunt’s kick edged wide in a strong wind as the Sharks upped their tempo to pin the tir­ing Gi­ants in their own half.

Four min­utes later the Sharks scored again, with winger Hay­den Toby-Dan­gen cross­ing af­ter a big break through the mid­dle from the out­stand­ing Caleb Reedy.

Reedy took three de­fend­ers with him be­fore pass­ing to Con­nelly, who then put Reedy back in posses­sion be­fore slip­ping a pass to half­back An­thony Bow­man. He found Con­nelly again be­fore push­ing on to Toby-Dan­gen to score.

Hunt’s fine kick gave the vis­i­tors a 10point buf­fer at half-time.

The Sharks then had to weather another Gi­ants push to find par­ity. And 15 min­utes into the se­cond half, the home side scored a con­verted try that left the Sharks with a slim four-point lead.

For 10 min­utes the Gi­ants camped deep in the Sharks half and a suc­ces­sion of penal­ties put the vis­i­tors un­der im­mense pres­sure.

But this team is built on de­fence and time and again they held firm to stop their op­po­nents.

Hav­ing sur­vived, the Sharks broke up­field and Reedy’s su­perbly weighted cross field kick on the last tackle evaded the de­fence be­fore Hud­son dived on a loose ball to score. When Ju­lian Wil­son-Wyl­lie added another af­ter 65 min­utes, the game as a con­test was over.

Toby-Dan­gen grabbed his se­cond nine min­utes from time and with the con­ver­sion good, the Sharks ran down the clock.

The vic­tory con­firmed a se­cond club mi­nor premier­ship for the year, with Third Grade also fin­ish­ing the sea­son on top, although they suf­fered a rare de­feat on Satur­day, go­ing down 34-4.

The re­serves, who will fin­ish se­cond on the lad­der, were also beaten, 18-0.

Pic­ture: Nan­cye Per­rin.

The Rock­ing­ham Sharks’ de­fence was the cor­ner­stone of their win against the Joon­dalup Gi­ants.

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