THE Moruya Sharks made light work of the Eden Tigers with a comprehensive 46-nil victory at Ack Weyman Oval on Sunday.
Moruya consolidated its top-spot on the Group 16 ladder and added to its commanding points differential lead over Bega.
Going into the game, Eden also needed a win to stay in touch with Narooma in the battle for third position and the right to host the minor semi-final.
The game began with all of the intensity and commitment expected of such a crucial match.
Both teams had chances but defences kept the scorer untroubled.
The Sharks lost dangerous centre Jake Clarke early with a head knock which had him sit out the rest of the game.
Moruya coach Neil Williams had the luxury of pushing starting fullback Pat McMahon to centre, and moving Dennis Green from the bench back to his regular role.
In the 18th minute the Sharks forced their way across the Tigers’ line with a good finish from Kane Leggett on the wing.
Aaron Brierley converted for a 6-nil lead.
The Sharks were building momentum and started to control field position.
It soon turned to points for the home team when Tim Weyman was able to take advantage of good lead-up work to crash over the try line.
Dennis Green’s conversion was successful and the Sharks had a 12-nil lead with 15 minutes to play in the first stanza.
Eden muscled up in defence and the game see-sawed from one end to the other until the sharks were able to post another four-pointer through Kane Leggett, who bagged his second, with just seconds on the clock prior to the half-time break.
McMahon kicked the conversion from outwide and the teams were off to the sheds with the Sharks having a solid 18-nil lead.
In the second half the Sharks shifted to a higher gear and played with confidence moving the ball and using their talented backline.
Five-eighth Aaron Brierley showed his match-winning credentials scoring a hat-trick in the first, 11th, and 20th minute of the second half.
McMahon converted two of the tries and the score had blown out to 34-nil.
Eden managed to stem the flow of points for a period, until Weyman crashed over for his second with four minutes remaining.
Almost immediately from the kick-off a backline raid was finished off with a Caine Brierley chip-and-chase to score a try.
McMahon slotted his fifth conversion and the full-time whistle blew with the Sharks 46-nil winners.
Coach Williams was pleased with the team’s defensive effort, going two games without conceding a point.
He also praised the whole team, pointing to the great go-forward of his pack led by Weyman and Billy Halligan up front, who were ably supported by Dillon Johnson, Shane Colebrook, Jack Leggett and Jeff Gamble.
The forward pack’s dominance allowed playmakers Justin Bell, Joel Pietsch and Rhys Burazer to constantly scheme and put doubt into the defensive line and allowed room for the Brierley brothers, McMahon, and wingers Jermaine Connolly and Kane Leggett to create opportunities.
Dennis Green was as always solid and an ever present danger at fullback.
The Sharks next game is at Ack Weyman Oval against third-placed Narooma on Sunday.
A win would almost assure Moruya would host the major semi-final on August 31.
(Tries: A Brierley 3, K Leggett 2, T Weyman 2, C Brierley. Goals: McMahon 5, A Brierley, Green)