Second half collapse allows North Beach back

Kieren Crowe scored first for the Sharks. Picture: Nancye Perrin

With three late no-shows it was always going to be a tough day at the office for the Rockingham Sharks against an in-form North Beach Sea Eagles.
Centre Tevita Pomale and his brother Misaeli both called in sick hours before kickoff and Logan Barclay added to coach Darren Shaw’s woes unable to play, stuck on the freeway with a broken down car.
The Sharks gave value for money in a wind-swept first half, leading 14-14 at the break before crashing to a Sea Eagles onslaught in the second period, eventually going down 24-14.
“We started well, which we haven’t for a few weeks and I was happy at halftime,” Shaw said.
“But we didn’t perform in the second half and the result shows that.”
Shaw conceded losing three players on the morning of the game did not help and when John Taituha came off with concussion midway through the second half the writing was on the wall.
The first half looked promising as the Sharks took control of the game in wet and windy conditions, a Connor Hudson kick through was kicked on by hooker Andrew Jeffery and young Will Smith took advantage of the loose ball to score.
Smith, another product of the Sharks development teams, showed why he has jumped from juniors to seniors with ease. He ran and he put in some solid tackling against a Sea Eagles flank led by veteran Ben Taylor.
Taylor proved a thorn in the Sharks side down their left defensive flank, scoring and organising his side in that second half comeback.
But early on the men in maroon were all at sea as the Sharks pressed.
Kieren Crowe added another after 21 minutes, bustling through a broken line to score and with Jack Wray’s kick, the Sharks were comfortable at 10-0.
When the Sea Eagles lost a player to the sin bin for backchatting the referee, the Sharks stepped up and Matty Rangiuia finished off a polished set to cross and extend the lead.
The Sharks should have scored again, but just before halftime, they let their opponents in and the gap was closer.
That gap diminished and disappeared early in the second half as the Sea Eagles got more possession – 23 sets to 14 – showed more energy and wore down the Sharks defence.
Taylor proved a handful as they moved the ball quickly and never allowed Rockingham to set their defence.
When the game switched in North Beach’s favour with a six-point cushion, the Sharks found some space and got to within metres of the line, but wrong options and a determined Sea Eagles kept them at bay.
Two late tries pushed the margin to ten points in a game of two halves for all the wrong Rockingham reasons.
The Premiership takes a break this weekend for State finals and returns with Round 8 on June 9 when the Sharks visit South Perth.

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