Sharks, Wolves to decide season
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.
Layton Cooper celebrates a goal.