Stunning second-half comeback seals Sharks’ victory

Pete RoweSound Telegraph

Looking out for the count at 18-0 down after 20 minutes, the Rockingham Sharks showed why are the 2017 NRLWA minor premiers, scoring six unanswered tries to secure a grand final berth with a stunning 30-18 victory over the Joondalup Giants on Saturday.

Slow out of the blocks, the Sharks had to endure a Joondalup tidal wave as the big Giants pack exposed the Sharks defence.

A score on seven minutes and another four minutes later gave the Giants a commanding lead.

When they added another to go 18-0 up on 22 minutes many were wondering if the Sharks had blown it. But you write off this Rockingham side at your peril.

Wily half-back Anthony Bowman broke between two defenders from 15m out to put the Sharks on the board on 27 minutes. The Giants began to show fatigue and looked lost as the Sharks moved through the gears. But they were down 18-6 at the break.

Coach Darren Shaw calmed the Sharks down, told them to keep to their game plan.

“We knew the Giants would throw everything they could at us to break us down but the longer the game went on, we knew we would recover,” Shaw said. And recover they did. Two minutes after the restart Hayden Toby-Dangen crossed in the corner after being put through by Geordie Connelly.

Then teenage back Tyler Hunt broke through for another try and added the extras.

The Sharks sensed their opponents were tiring and stepped up their game with quick play the balls, resulting in an increasing penalty count as the Giants found it hard to maintain their 10m defence.

Three minutes later Connelly capped off another superb performance with a try to give the minor premiers the lead.

Hunt missed the kick but it mattered not as this Sharks team was fired up. Josh Bransby then scored from 25m out.

The kick gave the Sharks an eight-point margin.

After weathering another Joondalup push, the Sharks sealed the game 10 minutes from time when Bowman broke through a hole from 20m out.

Earlier, third grade just failed to secure their grand final spot, going down 28-12 to Joondalup in their preliminary final.

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