Sharks hunt for elusive win
Rockingham Sharks endured another close loss at North Beach on Saturday, going down 18-12 to the Sea Eagles in round 2 of the NRLWA Smarter Than Smoking Premiership.
The loss was hard to take for many but there were still plenty of positives from the game as a new-look side worked to find the right combinations.
“Our completion rate in the second half was poor,” coach Darren Shaw said. “We all know what has to change, so we’ll go back to it at training and get it right.”
The mood in the dressing room after the game summed up those frustrations, with a clear indication they were prepared to work as a team to get it right.
The men in black had the best of the first quarter, opening the scoring after nine minutes when hooker Andrew Jeffery took a short pass from Richie Hicks near the line to go over.
John Taituha added the extras and the Sharks were looking comfortable pushing for another score.
That second nearly came minutes later as Jack Wray was taken out trying to cross before Jules Wilson-Wyllie suffered the same fate.
But the Sea Eagles held their nerve and, in the space of five minutes, opened up the Sharks’ defence down their right flank to score twice.
It was a cruel blow for the visitors, who had much of the play in that first quarter, but was a sign of things to come as the home side began to dominate.
A long stoppage for an injury to a North Beach player extended the half, which finished with the Sharks six points adrift.
Mistakes early on nearly cost both sides in a scrappy and at times fiery encounter.
Winger Connor Hudson was the first to become involved when he was pushed off the mark as a fight broke out, and then the winger was denied a try out wide when he was pushed into touch a metre short of the line.
Rockingham then lost new recruit Joe Martin, in at full-back, after he was pushed into the fence and got involved in an altercation where fists flew and the referee sent both men to the sin-bin for 10 minutes to cool down.
The second stanza wore on as both sides tried to find ways through, with many of the Sharks’ attempts falling short with lost ball or wrong last tackle options.
North Beach grabbed their third try on 71 minutes and the game looked over, but the Sharks came fighting back and Keiren Crowe scored his second try in two games, taking a well-timed offload from Jeffery to cross four minutes later.
With the kick added, that set up a stirring final five minutes as the visitors went in search of another score.
It wasn’t to be, and the Sharks are still hunting for their first victory of the 2018 season.
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