Wolves leave Sharks floundering
Wickham put all doubts to rest about their tag as favourites for this year’s North Pilbara Football League premiership with a resounding 85-point win against challengers Dampier Sharks on Friday, two rounds from the end of the regular season.
Sharks have been building in the past few rounds and had ascended to second place on the ladder, making their meeting with ladderleaders Wolves a test of how they shaped up to the top side with finals approaching.
But Wolves’ dominant performance at Wickham Oval showed they are not to be underestimated, stunning the Sharks with a 22.12 (144) to 9.5 (59) win.
The game began with a fairly even first quarter in which both sides put some good numbers on the scoreboard.
At the break the home team was up by a goal, 5.1 (31) to 4.1 (25).
But the Wolves lifted at the beginning of the second term, announcing their intent with the first goal of the quarter.
They went on to dominate the second and third quarters and did substantial damage on the scoreboard.
At three-quarter time the Wolves were 63 points ahead, and while the Sharks tried to steady the ship early in the last term, they were unable to do enough to stop the margin expanding further.
Last year’s De Grey Medal winner and top goalkicker Jarrod Cross made his recent return to the field felt with seven goals for the Wolves, while teammates Tyson Nicholas and Kendall Taylor also booted five and four majors respectively.
Wolves league coach Richard Coates said having some key players back in the team, especially in their back line, had helped to claim the win.
“We started off slow, but we had a talk at quarter-time and addressed the things that we weren’t doing, and the next three quarters showed how good we can be,” he said.
The result means the Sharks slip back to third, and face main rivals the Karratha Kats in round 14, while Wickham Wolves will meet South Hedland Swans after a bye.
Wolves also recorded a substantial win in the reserves, defeating the Sharks 12.15 (87) to 3.3 (21).
The match also marked a milestone 300th game for Wolves’ club legend Richie Heselwood.
Sharks' Jack Newman tries to stay ahead of the Wolves’ pack.
A Wolves player takes a mark against Sharks' Chris Wailu.
Wolves' Brooke Ball and Sharks' Arthur Ramirez and Morris Coppin chase.