Shellharbour City Sharks overcome Nowra-Bomaderry Jets

Experienced Shellharbour City Sharks winger Jamie Manukonga sets his sights on the try-line, where he scored the winner in his side's 16-12 qualifying semi-final victory. The Sharks trailed by 12 points in the second half. Picture: DAVID HALL

Experienced Shellharbour City Sharks winger Jamie Manukonga sets his sights on the try-line, where he scored the winner in his side's 16-12 qualifying semi-final victory. The Sharks trailed by 12 points in the second half. Picture: DAVID HALL

TRADITIONAL rivals Shellharbour City and Warilla-Lake South will play off for the first spot in the Group 7 Rugby League grand final, after the Sharks overcame Nowra-Bomaderry 16-12 in a thriller at Ron Costello Oval.

The Jets will now face defending premiers Gerringong in a sudden-death encounter, and will be regretting missed opportunity after their 12-0 lead was run down by the Sharks in the final 15 minutes on Sunday.

There was no splitting the two sides for the first half as they went to the sheds at nil-all, but the first 40 minutes were still an end-to-end affair as both teams threw plenty at each other.

Although penalties and errors were a common occurrence, the Jets were the more enterprising and their right-hand attack caused the Sharks some problems.

Centre Zac Kershaw came close on a number of occasions and the three-quarter was probably guilty of holding the ball when he should have passed to his winger on at least one occasion.

Shellharbour's best chance of the opening stanza came through a Jai Dormer break, but the pivot was dragged down just before the line and the score-line remained unchanged at the break.

The opening stages of the second half again featured the Jets dominating possession, and this time they capitalised on the opportunity.

Five-eighth Steven Brandon stood up his man with some nice footwork and crossed under the posts. Mark Brandon converted for 6-0.

The visitors soon extended their advantage when they opted to go for the two points following a Shellharbour infringement.

Mark Brandon snuck in the shot at goal for 8-0.

The Jets had their tails up and they soon added to their tally, thanks to some luck.

Geoff Johnson's clearing kick deflected off a Shellharbour player and the ball bounced perfectly into Mark Brandon's hands, the winger racing away for his 28th try of the year.

But Shellharbour quickly took advantage of a Jets error, and prop Harold Snell barrelled his way over under the posts.

From the ensuing set the Sharks, with the help of a penalty, rolled up field and proceeded to level the scores.

Goodwin plucked a cross-field kick from the air and then converted his own try for 12-all.

The game had well and truly swung to the home side and they soon went ahead.

A shot at field goal hit the upright, but earned the Sharks a repeat set.

The extra possession proved too much for the Jets and veteran Sharks winger Jamie Manukonga somehow managed to ground the ball in the midst of a number of defenders for what would be a match-winning 16-12 advantage.

Some poor handling gave the Jets one last crack at the Sharks, but the home side held on until the final siren.

In Saturday's elimination semi-final, a stirring second half performance helped Gerringong Lions beat the Kiama Knights 34-16 in heavy conditions at Centenary Field.

They will now face the Jets in the minor semi-final at Nowra Showground on Saturday.

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