Sharks strug­gle as Rovers dom­i­nate

Pilbara News - - Sport - Ben Leahy

Port Hed­land Rovers took an im­por­tant step closer to play­ing fi­nals footy by in­flict­ing a 76point thrash­ing on the Dampier Sharks in Sat­ur­day’s North Pil­bara Foot­ball League clash.

With both clubs bat­tling for a fi­nals spot, the Rovers’ skills and ef­fort proved a cut above the Sharks’ in the 17.17 (119) to 7.1 (43) vic­tory.

Heart­en­ingly for the Rovers, their big win comes on the back of im­proved per­for­mances in re­cent weeks.

Last week, de­spite be­ing des­per­ately short on player num­bers, the Hed­land side turned in a gutsy dis­play to go down by just 31 points to se­cond-placed Wick­ham Wolves away from home.

The Sharks, by contrast, have been head­ing down the NPFL lad­der in re­cent weeks.

Their thump­ing at the Rovers’ hands came on the back of an­other big loss the week be­fore to cel­lar-dwellers Kar­ratha Fal­cons.

Play­ing fi­nals footy now looks like an in­creas­ingly up­hill bat­tle for the Sharks, just months af­ter mak­ing last year’s grand fi­nal.

De­spite this, how­ever, the Sharks showed com­mit­ted at­tack on the ball in the open­ing min­utes of their clash against the Rovers as both sides strug­gled to stamp their au­thor­ity on the game.

The Rovers’ abil­ity to cap­i­talise on their for­ays for­ward proved the early dif­fer­ence as they fin­ished the term ahead 4.3 to 1.1.

How­ever, the Rovers’ weight of pos­ses­sion be­gan to show on the score­board from the se­cond term as they kicked away to a 42-point half-time and a 53-point three­quar­ter time lead.

De­spite the healthy ad­van­tage, coach Greg Mas­trangelo re­buked his charg­ers dur­ing the three-quar­ter break for not ea­gerly run­ning into at­tack and not putting in the hard yards to get back into de­fence.

The spray worked as the Rovers closed out the con­test by keep­ing the Sharks to a soli­tary goal in the last term.

Rovers midfielder Brad Hors­man put in a mighty ef­fort in the se­cond and third terms as he helped out deep in de­fence, while Luke Hockey and Chris Sims proved dan­ger­ous link-up men.

Billy Cousins pro­duced one of the game’s in­spi­ra­tional runs by fol­low­ing his kick out of de­fence to re­ceive a hand­ball and then drive the ball into the Rovers’ for­ward line.

New player Fred Nortje also proved a lively ad­di­tion to the Rovers’ for­ward line, kick­ing three goals along­side club main­stay Ben Ga­sior, who also slot­ted three.

Ar­ron Eb­sworth and Mitchell Bur­den fought hard for the Sharks, each boot­ing two goals.

The Rovers’ re­serves also posted a con­vinc­ing win, beat­ing the Sharks 17.7 (109) to 8.9 (57).

Billy Cousins bursts out of de­fence for the Rovers. Pic­tures: Ben Leahy

New Rovers player Fred Nortje slots a goal.

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