Sharks hand Jets their first loss
David Hall - South Coast Register
SHELLHARBOUR City Sharks have ended Nowra-Bomaderry Jets unbeaten start to the 2016 VB South Coast Rugby League season with a 20-6 win at Ron Costello Oval, causing a log-jam at the top of the competition table, with five teams now sharing top spot.
Unfortunately, despite the importance of the game, it never really reached any great heights, with the highlight probably being the fighting spirit of the Sharks, who lost prop Harold Snell with a hamstring injury and the returning Brad Chapman with an injured ankle, leaving them with a squad of just 15 for more than 70 minutes.
Both side shared plenty of mistakes in the early stages before the Jets got on the board when hooker Kurt Quinlan picked up a loose ball near the sideline and somehow flicked a pass to winger Mark Brandon who raced over.
He converted from out wide to take a handy 6-nil lead.
Despite the setback, the Sharks hit straight back when mercurial half Matt Carroll scored a typical dummy-and-go try, however missed the conversion to see his side down by two.
Minutes later they grabbed the lead when second-rower James Ralphs crashed over out wide and this time Carroll was on target to give the home side a 10-6 lead.
Despite a glut of possession, the Jets just couldn’t crack the Sharks, with their attack seemingly a bit ‘one dimensional’, with most first passes going to half Geoff Johnson, who was ‘spotted’ by the swarming defence.
The second half started very much the same as the first, with plenty of dropped passes.
However the Jets did create a red-hot chance when speedster Jacob Dolan swooped on a poor Sharks pass and took off on a 70 metre run, only to be run down and bundled into touch 10 metres from the try line.
That was as close as the Jets were to get when, in the 67th minute winger Ed Ansell dived on a Brock Skelly grubber-kick to stretch the lead to 14-6.
Minutes later inspirational skipper Hans Schuster took off from dummy-half and found Dylan McGregor in support to score and Carroll converted to wrap up a whole-hearted Sharks win.
James Ralphs, who played the entire 80 minutes up-front, Schuster, Carroll and centre Ian Catania had big games for the Sharks, while Jets’ captain-coach Ben Wellington, workaholic lock Matt Rouen, hooker Kurt Quinlan and Zac Kershaw tried hard to lift a disappointing visitors.