Sharks bow to Tigers in league final
Tokoroa’s Pacific Sharks lost to Hamilton City Tigers in the Waicoa Bay club rugby league final on Saturday after a dramatic last-gasp try claimed Tigers a stunning 24-19 win at Resthills Park.
The Sharks opened the scoring in the 25th minute thanks to a superb break from second rower Dylan Clark, before Vinnie Morunga sprinted 50 metres to finish. Pomare added a penalty, and the Sharks went to halftime ahead 8-0.
And it was all the visitors early in the second spell too, with prop Callin Tereu going over on the back of a couple of lovely offloads. Pomare missed the extras from in front, but the Sharks went back to back, with the very next set seeing a beautiful chip and chase from centre Tamatoa Karora-reu, before Denzil Manu finished.
Suddenly it was 18-0 and the Tigers needed something special. They got just that with Namu Puru barging over to get his side on the board. Then, prop Eli Paul produced an inspired charge down and regather, with winger Ray Wallace diving over.
Then Aaron Jolley grubbered through, before the ball was sent left again and Calcinai put Wallace away. Calcinai’s reliable boot tied the scores with 11 minutes to play.
Jolley missed a field goal and then things looked grim for the Tigers when Simon Beale was penalised for a late shot. But Pomare shanked his attempt from in front with five minutes remaining. However, just a couple of minutes later, Morunga slotted a superb field goal to put the Sharks up 19-18.
Then the home side got right down to the last tackle, before the unbelievable happened, Calcinai dummying and crashing over to complete the fairytale.
Tigers coach Hira Albert labelled it ‘‘an amazing game’’, and one which could have gone either way.
Sharks coach Neville Takiri was left to lament what he pinpointed as ‘‘the big swing of the game’’.
‘‘Just after we scored that [third] try and the ball went out, the momentum sort of switched, and it was hard to get it back from there, they just came over the top of us,’’ he said. ’’We built pressure well, we defended our line well, it’s just when we were on the back foot we slipped on that right side there.
‘‘Tigers are a classy team and they can score from anywhere, and it showed.’’