By Jake Bull
The Illawarra Steelers Junior Representative sides had a tough time against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Remondis Stadium, Cronulla on Friday.
In their first night game of the season, the Steelers Harold Matthews (U16) and SG Ball (U18) struggled against a Sharks outfit that showed plenty of drive and determination.
The Harold Matthews sides were first out onto the field and it took barely a minute for the visitors to get on the board.
A break out wide from centre Tyson Simpson then saw the ball come loose before dummy-half Jayden Millard pounced on the ball in goal to score for an early 4-0 lead.
Five minutes later the Sharks hit back through Kai Broadhurst who stepped a few defenders to score.
Luke Metcalf added the extras as the Sharks lead 6-4.
The Sharks then went in for two mores tries before the 15th minute through Trace Davidson and Bronson Xerri to race out to a 16-4 lead.
However, in the 18th minute the Steelers hit back when a good short pass found Sam McCann who burst through to score.
Zac Lomax converted to reduce the gap to 16-10.
The Sharks had one more try in them before the break as Metcalf went in under the posts as the home side lead 22-10 at the interval.
In the 36th minute, some great build up play from Steven Marsters saw Sam McCann get the ball and beat a few defenders for his second try of the night.
Lomax again got the two points to tie the game at 22-all.
With eight minutes remaining the home side sealed their victory when prop Fine Kula scored under the posts.
Metcalf had the easy conversion as Cronulla walked away with a 28-22 win.
The SG Ball team were looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season last weekend and got off to the perfect start in the fourth minute.
A break from Jai Field saw him pass to Tristan Sailor who streaked away to score.
Field converted for an early 6-0 lead.
In the 12th minute, Jai Field was involved again.
Picking up a loose ball in his own in-goal, he found a gap and ran 100 metres for an outstanding solo try.
He composed himself enough to put over the conversion for a 12-0 scoreline.
The Sharks then made their way into the game and took the lead in the 31st minute after three consecutive tries to lock Billy Magoulias.
Halfback Jack Williams converted all three tries as the home side went into the break with an 18-12 lead.
The Sharks continued their momentum into the second half when Jesse Savage burrowed over the line to extend the gap.
It was another conversion for Williams for a 24-12 lead.
Two more tries, one to both Cameron Scott and Luis Strickland, saw the lead blow out to 34-12 before a try to Max Bailey from a grubber for the Steelers saw the final score read 34-16.
Illawarra Steelers 22. Tries: McCann (2), Millard, Simpson. Goals: Lomax (3/5).
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 28.
Illawarra Steelers 16. Tries: Sailor, Field, Bailey. Goals: Field (2/3).
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 34.