Sharks lose bite against War­riors

South Waikato News - - SPORTS - By PETRICE TAR­RANT

A shat­ter­ing turn of the tide saw Pacific Sharks fall in the grand fi­nal by the ex­act same score they won by last year.

This time in 2013 Pacific faced off against the Pikiao War­riors in the Bay of Plenty Rugby League grand fi­nal and man­aged to pull away with a 30-26 vic­tory.

But in an ironic flip of the board, a gut- wrench­ing 30- 26 loss to the same team has left the Toko­roa side won­der­ing how they man­aged to lose their grip.

Pacific had an out­stand­ing per­for­mance with pow­er­ful tack­les, ac­cu­rate kick­ing and some crisp pas­sages on at­tack. But two dis­al­lowed tries came as tough blows for the de­ter­mined side and a few short but costly lapses gave Pikiao un­nec­es­sary ter­ri­tory that they cap­i­talised on.

In grand fi­nal fash­ion both teams turned up to Puketawhero Park in Ro­torua to win.

Pikiao was first on the board, man­ag­ing to grasp an early 12-0 lead, but with about 15 min­utes to go Pacific hit back hard.

In a clean pas­sage of play the ball was swung out to Cas­sius Read for Pacific’s first try. Ash­ley Fran­sham fol­lowed that up, touch­ing down near the posts.

Two suc­cess­ful con­ver­sions by Ngari Hawkins saw Pacific head into the sheds at half­time: 12-all.

Co-cap­tain Pa­trick Rus­sell led his side ad­mirably in the last 40 min­utes, open­ing the sec­ond half

with a stun- ning jump try.

The Pacific wave kept crash­ing and it wasn’t long be­fore Read scored his sec­ond down the right wing, tak­ing the score to 20-12.

But in the fi­nal 10 min­utes they seemed to slack de­fen­sively, miss­ing tack­les that gave Pikiao the yards needed to set up a try. A missed con­ver­sion kept Pacific on top.

They had the ter­ri­tory they needed and the reign­ing cham­pi­ons looked set to snatch the win once again, but an­other brief slack­en­ing on de­fence turned the ta­bles.

Seventy five min­utes of grand fi­nal rugby league took its toll on Pacific and Pikiao pen­e­trated their line, burst­ing over to nail the vic­tory.

Coach Pan­iora Daniels said the boys still have a lot to be proud of.

‘‘It was noth­ing short of a good grand fi­nal ... It’s been a good year, but you can’t help but look at things that could have hap­pened.’’

It is on­wards for the side that has at least five play­ers in the Waicoa Bays train­ing squad.

Pow­er­ful run: Isa­iah Cooper-Tete­vano takes on the Pikiao de­fend­ers.

Smart play: Co-cap­tain Pa­trick Rus­sell swings the ball out wide.

Emo­tion packed: De­laney Takiri leads a haka to thank fans.

Grace­ful in de­feat: Pacific’s Shane Tekuru em­braces a mem­ber of the win­ning Pikiao team.

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