Sharks Academy u16’s graduate in style against the Parra Eels
Author : Adam Wrightson Cronulla Junior League
The Sharks u16 Academy squad had their final outing for 2021 playing the Parramatta Eels at McCredie Park in Guildford. The boys who are all eyeing off a place in next years Harold Matthews Cup team, graduated in style today with a 7 tries to 5 victory.
In what was 80 minutes of football played over 4 quarters the Sharks Academy squad had to dig deep and rely on their fitness to prevail against Parramatta who were rotating a larger number of players during the match.
For a large portion of the match the Sharks would score and then the Eels would answer straight back. The first 10 minutes of the match saw both teams settle into their respective rhythms.
The Sharks Sasha Popovic was allusive and an absolute handful when he injected himself into the game. He came very close to scoring twice late in the first quarter after being monstered back into the field of play after getting across the goal line under the posts and then again, a few minutes later when he had a disallowed try for a knock-on.
Ultimately it would be Parramatta who scored first with a great effort out wide to score in the corner just after the drinks break.
Just a few minutes later a bustling run by Sharks big man Jayze Tuigamala saw him break the Eels line and then hand the ball off to Harry Samuel who scored to even up the score at 1 try a piece.
A mistake by Parramatta inside their ten then had the Sharks in prime position for a set play from the scrum which paid dividends after they sent ball wide and Nicholas Pantelis crashed over to put the Sharks up by 2-1 at the main break.
In the first set after commencement of the second half a Sharks error put the Eels in good field position, and they capitalised scoring out wide to even up the scores 2-2.
After composing themselves the Sharks then found themselves in good field position spreading the ball wide to a flying Dionn Haratsaris who scored to again see the Sharks back in front.
Off the kick-off a big hit forced the ball loose and it was once again Parramatta’s turn to have the ball in the attacking zone. The eels did not squander their opportunity and just like that we were all locked back up at 3-3.
Not long after the Sharks spread it to the opposite wing and Jack Bliss scored in the corner for a take-back of the lead. Both teams appeared content to go try for try and Parra crashed over to once again even up the scores at 4-4 going into the final quarter.
5 mins into the last stanza of play Sharks Dionn Haratsaris bagged his double going over in the corner and giving the Sharks the lead once again.
Just a few minutes later Sharks Sasha Popovic kicked and chased and after getting tackled without the ball received the penalty. Taking advantage Isaiah Whetu scored to finally give the Sharks some breathing room on the scoreboard now leading 6-4.
With just 4 minutes left in the game Sharks Riley Burton crashed over to score leaving no doubt about the result.
Despite a Parramatta try on the siren the young Sharks were simply too fast, too fit and more enthusiastic winning 7-5. A great game played in good spirit by both of these young sides.
Don’t forget to visit ourfootyteam.com and sharks.com.au for all of the results, competition ladders, more photos as well as to stay up to date with all the latest news about the Sharks and Sharks junior representative teams.
Pictures: Adam Wrightson
For high resolution photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/vXhQM7f84oFgqsNRA
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