Sharks struggle as Rovers dominate
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).
New Rovers player Fred Nortje slots a goal.