Beaten Sharks face Gi­ant task

MUST NOW WIN KNOCK­OUT FI­NAL

Kwinana Courier - - Sport -

THE curse of the mi­nor premier­ship was the un­do­ing of all three fi­nals on the week­end as the Rock­ing­ham Sharks went down to the Fre­man­tle Roost­ers 28-32 in a thrilling premier­ship game.

The Sharks’ third-grade mi­nor pre­miers lost 18-26 to South Perth ear­lier in the day and the re­serves knocked off mi­nor pre­miers Wil­lagee 24-14 be­fore the first­grade sides took to the field.

The see­saw­ing cliffhanger show­cased ev­ery­thing good about WA rugby league as the two teams fought for a place in the grand fi­nal.

The Roost­ers jumped to a 12-0 lead af­ter just 15 min­utes as skip­per De­lane Edwards showed why he is the best player in the state, with a mag­i­cal per­for­mance to drive the vis­i­tors around the park.

His line breaks of­ten had the Sharks de­fence at sea and it took 19 min­utes be­fore they had a sniff at the white­wash.

Half­back Tyler Hunt found space 25m out to dance his way past a host of de­fend­ers to score his first of three for the day.

Hunt notched up 22 of the Sharks’ 28 points in an MVP per­for­mance.

Ge­ordie Con­nelly came off the sick list to bring the Sharks to within two points two min­utes later as the large home crowd sensed their team was at last find­ing their gears.

Hunt’s con­ver­sion lev­elled scores at 12-12, but four min­utes be­fore the break, an­other Edwards con­trolled move set up the Roost­ers and they went into half time four points in front.

The Roost­ers ex­tended their lead just seven min­utes af­ter the restart.

Hunt crossed for his sec­ond try of the day and his con­ver­sion closed the gap to two points, but a stupid er­ror on the restart al­lowed the Roost­ers to re­cover a short kick-off and the vis­i­tors quickly marched up the field to add four more points.

Hunt added his third in the 59th minute, and with an­other suc­cess­ful kick, just two points sep­a­rated the sides again.

When hooker Andy Jef­fery drew a penalty short of the line min­utes later, Hunt coolly stepped up to slot home and tie up the game.

Just 13 min­utes re­mained to de­cide a win­ner and when the Sharks were awarded a penalty 35m out, Hunt was there again.

This time, his kick missed, but just two min­utes later the home side was awarded an­other penalty in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion.

Caleb Reedy kicked the points to put the Sharks in front for the first time.

With barely three min­utes on the clock, the Sharks got a short kick-off wrong again, as Ian Wood found lit­tle sup­port when the Roost­ers pushed him into touch.

From the re­sult­ing scrum and feed, Fre­man­tle scored the win­ning try to win 32-28.

“We go again next week,” Rock­ing­ham coach Dar­ren Shaw said, as the Sharks now face the Joon­dalup Giants in a pre­lim­i­nary knock­out fi­nal for that elu­sive grand fi­nal spot.

“But we made too many er­rors once we got pos­ses­sion.

“When we found space and got our backs in­volved, we started to hurt them, but some of the mis­takes we made cost us.”

Ear­lier in the day, Nei­hana McMil­lan, Alis­tair Par­menter, Tangime­tua Tangime­tua and Cliff Oalu scored for third-grade in its 26-18 loss, and it too will face Joon­dalup for a place in the de­cider.

Tries from Lo­gan Bar­clay (2), Te­whakapono Tuhua, Jay­den Toelupe and Josh Matthews and kicks from Josh Jerome saw the Sharks re­serve grade put in a su­perb per­for­mance to see off the Wil­lagee Bears, who ended with two play­ers sin-binned.

Above: Tyler Hunter scored 22 of the Sharks’ 28 points. Right: The re­serves beat the Wil­lagee Bears (red and black) to reach the grand fi­nal.

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