It is go time in the Junior Representatives as we enter the postseason. While the Tarsha Gale earned a week off courtesy of their incredible campaign, the Harold Matthews will duke it out with the Cronulla Sharks in the first week of the finals in order to claim a place in the grand final qualifier. All of the action will kick off from 9:30AM out at St Marys. You can watch the game care of NSWRL TV and/or follow along right here on TCT!
Harold Matthews Team List
1. Mohamed Alameddine
2. Luke Maroun
3. Michael Gabrael
4. Tyrese Lokeni
5. Richard Penisini
6. Blaize Talagi
7. Lorenzo Talataina
8. Sam Tuivaiti
9. Matthew Arthur
10. Jacob John
17. Charbel Chehade
12. Jordan Faleono
13. Kobi Hurford
14. Zaidus Muagututia
15. Sebastian Piuklala
16. Jordan Uta
17. Tyson Sangalang
18 Jezaiah Funa-Luta
Cronulla will receive the ball to start this game and immediately they make an incision as their dummy half slices through the front line. Mohamed Alameddine makes the cover tackle at the last line but the Eels are reeling as the attacking kick comes in. It is sent to the right edge of the Eels and it looks like Parramatta get the best play at the ball but Luke Maroun can’t bring it in cleanly and the Sharks pounce on the bouncing ball to score first points within 60 seconds. Nightmare start for the Eels today.
Try scored by Jayze Tuigamala. Conversion successful by Chevy Stewart.
Sharks lead 6-0
Strong contact from Bobby John first up in the next set. Cronulla stay focused and work the ball up to halfway and beyond. They go high with an attacking bomb but Alameddine does very well to take a sliding catch. The Eels finally get their first possession of the game and they keep it simple but unfortunately complete the set by producing a 7-tackle set for the Sharks. All the early pressure continues to build against Parramatta currently.
A big break though! Cronulla attack down their left through the hands and seemingly have the overlap but the last pass is dropped! Another settling set for the Eels now but the porous defence leaks a linebreak from the kick return. Bad signs here as the Cronulla fullback Chevy Stewart just knifes through the staggered line.
Another goal line stand is required as a result but lax defence on the last allows the Sharks to turn the ball back inside the ruck for their lock forward Alex Challenor to burrow over. That really should have been snuffed out. The Parramatta Eels suddenly find themselves in a 12-0 hole.
Try scored by Alex Challenor. Conversion successful by Chevy Stewart.
Sharks lead 12-0
The Sharks are dominating the ruck in these early exchanges and they will complete their set with a kick 10m inside Parramatta’s half on the back of that dominance. Alameddine spills the bomb but it is ruled to have gone backwards in a fortuitous break for the Eels. Metres are extremely tough to come by for Parramatta in return but an outstanding clearing kick from Blaize Talagi pulls up in the ingoals. Alas a penalty for a driving tackle shortly thereafter puts Cronulla immediately back in the driving seat. Really frazzled stuff from Parramatta.
The contact is better early on in this set even with the Sharks looking to ball play between forwards at the line. Tyrese Lokeni forces the turnover on tackles on the last with a nice ankles tackle as the ball is spread to Cronulla’s left.
The pressure is relieved when the Sharks are pulled up early in the next set for slowing down the ruck. Talagi finds touch 10m short of halfway as Lokeni taps and goes. Arthur plays left looking to centre the ball. Talagi uses John to push into Cronulla’s half but play falls apart after that as a pass hits the deck. Blaize’s bomb on the last is too heavy and sails ingoals where it is taken for a 20m restart.
A late penalty in the 7-tackle set could prove back-breaking as the possession rates tilt heavily to Cronulla. Their left centre Jayze Tuigamala taps and goes as they work from left to right. A second penalty comes when Arthur is pinged for hands on the ball. The Sharks tap and go and look to have scored on tackle two but their prop Max Mccarthy is ruled to have made a double movement! What a huge let off for the Eels.
A good, tough run from Bobby John sets up space for Talataina to dig into the defensive line. He carries the Eels into Cronulla territory which in turn sees Talagi put up the attacking bomb. This one is executed much better and the Eels get the pill back before the cover defence forces an error. The best signs thus far from the Blue & Gold though.
The next set for Parramatta is nearly disastrous as passes hit the deck inside their own red zone. Talagi eventually heaves it downfield but the territorial battle is decisively won by the Sharks in the exchange. Cronulla find some quick PTBs through the ruck, causing the Eels to desperately hold on by the skin of their teeth. Thankfully it is enough as Cronulla drop the ball on the last right in front of the posts.
Oh so close! Arthur jumps out of dummy half looking to drill a 40/20 but he is just outside the mark. Still a tremendous kick regardless as it gets the Eels back into the arm wrestle. How quickly that turns though as Jordan Uta is immediately pinged for a flop. How quickly THAT turns though as the Sharks fail to find touch!
Eels on the attack now as Uta redeems himself with a great surge to the line. Right to Talagi who plays flat to Hurford but the big unit loses it as his hits the ground and the Eels best chance for points thus far fizzles out to a turnover.
The Sharks are relentless with their pressure through the middle but Parramatta seem to be making the necessary adjustments finally. In their next possession Talagi takes the Eels down their right edge shortside and just as it seems there might be a bit of space for Luke Maroun off a tipped bounce pass, he can’t quite reel it in. Scrum to the Sharks 10m into their half.
Big play from Jordan Uta! He rushes out of the line and makes great first up contact to jolt the ball free from Bryce Sait’s grasp!
Left from the scrum win for the Eels. Michael Gabrael gets a rare possession in this clash. Back to the right from there for Parramatta before Talagi turns the ball back inside the ruck to Uta. Alameddine takes the ball down the right to setup the last where Talataina’s grubber kick is too heavy off the boot and results in a 7-tackle restart. It doesn’t come back to haunt the Eels however as there is only time for a play or two to follow and the Sharks settle for a couple of ruck runs.
Cronulla Sharks 12 lead the Parramatta Eels 0
The Eels field the squid kick to start the second half. Tuivati and Faleono start the set strongly and Parramatta try something a little different as Alameddine chips ahead early. He regains the ball and trips over but the referee has seen a tip forward in the contest for the ball from Lorenzo Talataina so the Sharks survive and set a scrum 10m off their line.
Aggressive defence early in the following set as the Eels look to pin the Sharks in their own half. Alameddine claims the midfield bomb before Gabrael and Maroun have nice runs. Talagi put up the attacking bomb but his fullback is offside on the chase and gives away the penalty. Tough break there but the referee was calling it early on.
Time off for an injured player. Looks to be an Eels. Zaidas Muagututia is ready to make a substitution. Luke Maroun the young man assisted off with a possible ankle injury.
Some arm-grabbing around the ruck puts the Sharks on the attack and they make the Eels pay on the next tackle with a shift to their right edge. It was Alex Challenor who set it up as he bounced between would-be tacklers to take the ball onto the goal line. Their half Bryce Sait takes it to the right where they cut through the sliding defence.
Try scored by Richard Whalebone. Conversion unsuccessful by Chevy Stewart.
Sharks lead 16-0
Ooh, dropped kickoff! That is exactly what you need after conceding points and the Eels get their best chance of the game to attack the line.
Scrum is set centrefield. Talagi feeding it. To the left with Alameddine but the Sharks gobble him up and drive him into touch. He flings the ball back inside in time but it is intercepted easily by the Sharks and the Eels turn it over on tackle 1.
Talagi sets the tone defensively with a bonecrushing hit and the Sharks are trapped deep in their own half on the back of it. The Eels get a rare win in the field position battle but again the last tackle options are less than stellar though as Talagi’s grubber takes a deflection in the front line and is easily claimed by the defence. A penalty follows and in the blink of an eye the Sharks are off the hook.
What a run! The Eels finally get their blockbusting centre some early ball and he immediately repays the faith! He brutally carves his way through the front line after getting the pill from Talataina before taking on and beating the fullback cold at the last line! He powers to the corner to score the first points for the Eels!
Try scored by Michael Gabrael. Conversion unsuccessful by Mohamed Alameddine.
Eels trail 4-16
Tuivati gets us underway in the following set. Faleono and Piukala run in his wake but Alameddine turns it over and a quick shift to the left. There was something cooking there as well but the fullback couldn’t execute a clean pass with pressure in his face.
Cronulla are on the attack as a result but the Eels hold out to the last. A neat grubber, the best on the day from either team, forces a line drop out though as the pressure builds and time continues to run for the Blue & Gold.
And that might be all she wrote as the Sharks cross again via an attacking kick on the stroke of the 48th minute. Off the boot of Ashton Simmonds and Jasper Catton claims it for the crucial try.
Try scored by Jasper Catton. Conversion successful by Chevy Stewart.
Sharks lead 22-4
Short kickoff attempt from the Eels. The right call in the context of the game but Talagi loses it forwards in the contest for the pill.
Expansive play from Cronulla as they offload from the scrum win. The Eels are caught short and a penalty follows on the next play when the defensive line is called offside. As it has been for most of this game, the Sharks start with plus field position.
The back has been well and truly broken here as the Sharks storm over down Parramatta’s left edge. Far too easy there as the big man Max Mccarthy barrells over.
Try scored by Lachlan Araullo. Conversion successful by Chevy Stewart.
Sharks lead 28-4
It continues to be all Cronulla as their backrower Jasper Catton bursts into the backfield. Someway, somehow the Sharks butcher it though as they produce a knock on in the following tackle.
The Eels nearly narrow the margin in the following set as Talagi either goes close himself or nearly gets someone else over two of three times. The Sharks do very well to repel the Eels however. With a minute left the Eels pick up a penalty for a high shot on Piukala. A big left edge shift falls apart as the ball hits the ground and win time enough for one or two plays the Eels spin to their right but Cronulla’s defence is too good.
Cronulla Sharks 28 defeat the Parramatta Eels 4