In the season opener of SARFL the Sharks hosted the Giants at GHA Rugby Club.
Some overcast conditions before first whistle saw some hail come and go quickly but the day was perfectly set up for a tough encounter.
The Sharks ran out in their new kit looking to start the season with a win and the first quarter saw an arm wrestle between the two sides as both sides took some time to get into gear. The Sharks defence was tested early in the first quarter and managed to hold off a quick start from the Giants. Captain Adam Jack acclimatising to the new role coach Connor challenged him to embrace, working from half back with his footy intelligence and high skill level. Jacko and Danny Kay worked hard to deflect the early attack and clear their lines. The Sharks slowly gained traction and towards the end of the quarter seemed to collect a buzz around their play. Duncan Bertram putting his head over the ball collected a much needed free kick to set up Liam Dolling in the Sharks forward line with a kick straight in front of goals to keep the Sharks close heading into the first break.
The second quarter started and the Sharks picked up where they had left off in the last term working hard with their run and leg speed, Phil Daly showing how damaging some outside run could be, with time to deliver decent ball to the forward line. Daniel Connor putting on pressure up forward helped lock the ball in the Sharks attacking half. The Sharks stormed passed the Giants lead with relentless ferocity in this second term and this was driven by a hard working midfield Alex Young doing his all to neutralise what had been a dominant performance from the Giants ruckman in the first term allowed James Hancock time to gather and get the ball going the Sharks way.
Heading into the third stanza and with a great belief and confidence the Sharks put the pedal to the floor and put some distance on the score board. The Sharks young forward line had started to work as a unit and complimented each other well. Liam Dolling delivered a stand out performance that would send shivers up the rest of the competition as he will only improve as he gets older, dominating in the air Liam ammased a bag full of goals and took some impressive marks. The Sharks defense was working tirelessly all day and Derek Smith should his endurance with some great pressure acts and shut down work. The Sharks now with a commanding lead went into the final break with one thing on their minds, finishing the job.
The last quarter had the Giants arrest some momentum early but the Sharks midfield had other plans and were not going to let their lead slip. John McIntyre gave the Sharks midfielders first use and didn’t give any ground, the Giants had lost their key weapon and the Sharks smelt blood, Daniel Hespe capitalised this and used his gut running to tee up Andrew McManus for some shots at goal. McManus with a cool head took his chances well and helped guide the Sharks home to win the match on what was a tough day.
The Giants gave the Sharks a great game, they were inaccurate in front of goal costing them some chances at building momentum but never stopped getting to the next contest.
The Sharks sang the song in the club rooms with Lewis Collett being soaked during as this was his first league win.
Player of the day was given to Andrew McManus for his relentless effort yet cool composure when looking for the right option.
Next game is May 12th as the Sharks are hosted by the Edinburgh Bloods.