THE Moruya Sharks moved into first place on the Group 16 ladder after demolishing the Tathra Sea Eagles 76-nil on Sunday.
With just three rounds remaining the Sharks have placed themselves in the best position to win their third consecutive minor premiership.
The Sharks hit the paddock against a determined Tathra outfit who tried to throw the ball around to catch out the Sharks’ defence.
Moruya held firm and posted its first try, through Jake Clarke, within five minutes of the kick-off.
Clarke was ever-present and completed his hat-trick shortly after as the Sharks swung the ball to the edges before passing infield to the supporting centre.
Further first half tries to Patty McMahon, Rhys Burazer, Jeffrey Gamble and Justin Bell, as well as a perfect seven-from-seven conversion rate from McMahon, had the Sharks well in control as the teams went to the break at 42-nil.
The Sharks were missing Dennis Green, Jermaine Connolly, Jack Leggett and Dean Scott, and an early head clash forced Aaron Brierley from the field.
However the Sharks were determined to carry on with their attractive attacking style of play in the second half.
Quick play the balls and a determined forward pack enabled the Sharks to unleash their potent back line with great success.
Leading the way up front were Billy Halligan, Tim Weyman, Gamble and Dillon Johnson while Shane Colebrook was creating havoc on the fringes, with his devastating ball running.
The scoreboard kept ticking over in the second half with Kane Leggett crossing for a hat-trick and Bell scored his second try.
Caine Brierley chipped in with a try and Matt Jones snared one on the wing.
McMahon’s kicking percentage fell in the second half with three goals from six attempts.
Sharks’ secretary John Cornall said it was a great team performance to set up the 14 try-haul against the Sea Eagles, but singled out the halves’ control and vision as two keys to the performance.
“Rhys Burazer at halfback and Joel Pietsch filling in at five-eighth were able to work off the great go-forward and they constantly had the Sea Eagles’ defence in disarray,” Cornall said.
News of Bega’s loss to Narooma filtered through after the match and the Sharks hit the premiership lead 41 points clear of the Roosters’ point differential.
“The Sharks wanted to put themselves in a position to be in the running for the minor premiership,” Cornall said.
“Bega was in their way with a game in hand and had a 39 point differential lead.”
The Sharks could not do anything about the Roosters’ competition points as they won’t play them again in the regular season.
Moruya was relying on another team to defeat Bega and give the Sharks first place with two games remaining.
Next week the Sharks are at home to Eden, in what should be a tough hit out with Eden fighting for third position with Narooma, both on 16 competition points.
The Sharks will need to be at their best on the day and are looking forward to returning to Ack Weyman Oval to local support.
The Sharks will need to win their two remaining home games to protect their points differential and claim the minor premiership.
Moruya Sharks 76 (Tries; Jake Clarke 3, Kane Leggett 3, Justin Bell 2, Caine Brierley 2, Pat McMahon 1, Jeffery Gamble 1, Rhys Burazer 1, Matt Jones 1, goals; McMahon 10) defeated Tathra Sea Eagles 0.