Sharks, Wolves to de­cide sea­son

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

The Dampier Sharks have earned a spot in the 2017 North Pil­bara Foot­ball League grand fi­nal after de­feat­ing the Kar­ratha Kats in their sud­den-death pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

In a high-stakes match at Windy Ridge Oval last Satur­day, Kats lost the chance to de­fend their 2016 premier­ship as the Sharks beat them by a 42-point mar­gin to make the grand fi­nal.

It was an ex­cit­ing match-up be­tween two sides who have been neck-and-neck through­out the last stretch of the sea­son, after for­mer lad­der-lead­ers the Kats suf­fered a mid-sea­son slump while the Sharks have been steadily build­ing.

The Dampier side’s hunger for a shot at the premier­ship was clear as they set a fast pace and dom­i­nated through­out the match.

The foun­da­tion was set early on with a de­ter­mined first-quar­ter ef­fort in which Sharks kicked 6.2 to Kats’ 1.1 to get a sub­stan­tial early lead and the psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­van­tage.

That al­lowed them to pull back and main­tain the mo­men­tum from that point on, kick­ing a handful of goals in each quar­ter af­ter­wards.

While Kats had their chances, they were never able to match the Sharks’ pace or make up the size­able ground needed to catch up, and some in­ac­cu­racy in front of goal did not help. Dampier fin­ished the game hav­ing al­most dou­bled their op­po­nents’ score with a fi­nal re­sult of 13.7 (85) to 6.7 (43).

Lay­ton Cooper and Mor­ris Cop­pin were the Sharks’ top con­trib­u­tors in front of goal, scor­ing four ma­jors each.

The re­sult means Sharks will play 2017’s dom­i­nant team and mi­nor premiers, the Wick­ham Wolves, in the grand fi­nal this weekend. Dampier will be chas­ing their first premier­ship since 2009, but it is an even more ex­cit­ing prospect for favourites the Wolves who have not won a ti­tle since 1976 as part of the for­mer West Pil­bara Foot­ball League.

The grand fi­nal will be played at Wick­ham Oval at 6.45pm on Satur­day.

Christo­pher Bai­ley wins the mark in front of the Sharks' goals.

Sharks' Christo­pher Wailu and Kats' Bren­dan Bl­iz­zard in the ruck.

Pic­tures: Louise Alling­ham

Lay­ton Cooper cel­e­brates a goal.

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