Sharks and Knights face-off for spot in decider

Kiama Knights' Ethan Ford. Photo: SPORTS FOCUS PHOTO
Kiama Knights' Ethan Ford. Photo: SPORTS FOCUS PHOTO

YOU would think playing the same opponent for the third time in five weeks would be repetitious but not in the case of either Kiama and Shellharbour City.

Especially when you consider there is a grand final spot against Jamberoo, on Sunday, September 17 is on the line.

Both sides know what’s happened so far this season, including Kiama’s 2-1 record against the Shellharbour City, will mean little when the two teams run onto Cec Glenholmes Oval at 2.45pm on Sunday.

This will be the Sharks second bite of the cherry for that elusive grand final ticket, after losing 34-10 to Jamberoo at the weekend.

“The boys have recovered well, are feeling better about themselves and are looking forward to the challenge on Sunday,” Sharks coach Abed Atallah said.

“Our hard work and strong play during the season earned us this second chance, so it’s up to us on Sunday to not let it go to waste.”

Coincidentally, the Sharks lost this corresponding fixture at the exact same ground last year (to Warilla-Lake South), a statistic Atallah and his troops haven’t even discussed.

“What happened last year is in the past and we can’t change it – the only thing we can do is go out and rectify in on Sunday against Kiama,” he said.

“The key to defeating the Knights, is, just like we did two weeks ago against them, to focus on our own play – such as a high completion rate and good attitude.

“Obviously Kiama come into the clash confident after their strong performance against Gerringong last week, so it’s up to us to let our actions do the talking on Sunday.”

Differently, Kiama come into the clash on the back of a victory coach Matt O’Brien lablled as the ‘best win he’s had with the club’.

“The preparation has been good this week, as everyone is still on a high and excited from last week’s win,” O’Brien said.

“We need to carry that momentum going forward, as they are all big games from now on.

“It’s great to be still in the hunt for the premiership, after being knocked out early by the Sharks last year – a result we are hoping to reverse come Sunday.

“To do that, we need to tackle like we did against Gerringong and minimise the impact of Matt Carroll – by not letting him run through our defensive line.

“We know we can’t match their size but we can combat that in other ways, which we have shown this season.”

Since 2012, the first grade Knights are the only side from the club to not have played in a grand final.

“Every year, the club has won one of the five competitions on offer – which shows the strength of the club across the board,” he said.

“It’s now time that this first grade side match their club mates achievements and reach a grand final – they deserve it.

“Making grand final is why you slog it out in pre-season and why you keep turning up each week – it would mean the world for everyone at the club to reach this year’s decider.”

The matches at Cec Glenholmes Oval on Sunday kick-off with Kiama vs Stingrays Green in WLT from 8.45am, Culburra vs Mount Warrigal in third grade at 10am, Albion Park-Oak Flats vs Warilla-Lake South in under 18s from 11.35am, Albion Park-Oak Flats vs Gerrinong in reserve grade from 1.10pm and Kiama vs Shellharbour City in first grade from 2.45pm