Resilience the key as Sharks grind out draw with Sea Eagles

The NRLWA produced another thrilling draw at the Franklin Offshore Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the Rockingham sharks and the North Beach Sea Eagles fought out a 26-26 draw in round 10 of the Fuel to Go and Play Premiership.

And it wasn’t without excitement as the Sea Eagles jumped to an early 20-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

The visitors, playing quick from the ruck football with lots of possession, stunned their opponents and on the back of several penalties had the home side staring down the barrel of a potential big loss as back rower Brody Whitehead dived on a clever grubber kick that was spilled spill to score before hooker Drew Lloyd and lock Ted Shand added more points.

Centre Tyler Moeau added a fourth to increase their lead, from a period of the game coach Phil Douche was very pleased with.

“There were some big positives from the first 20 minutes and we stuck to our game plan and were calm in our approach which was key,” Douche said.

“Then we lost our centre and they (Rockingham) took advantage of that and went ‘bang, bang, bang’ down that left edge and it was game on.”

It certainly was game on as the Sharks got some possession and the game became a half of two halves, turning around the deficit with tries from second rower Brandon White, lock Marcelle Loaderto halve the deficit before Braydon Burdett came off the bench to score his first try for the Sharks.

At 16-20 the momentum had swung back to the Sharks and from the kickoff they positioned themselves to attack the North Beach left edge again, with a break from Burdett setting up powerful centre Logan Barclay for his first of the day.

Captain Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards kicked the conversion and amazingly the home side, from 20 points down, went into halftime break two points up.

Rockingham coach Tom Murphy said he had told his team not to panic and that “the tide will turn”.

“I think the penalty could in those early mooniest was 6-0 to them, s we had two dig deep and stay in the game,” he said.

“We had to trust our systems and once we got some ball we knew we could score points.”

Douche was also talking systems to his side. <br> “I knew the second half was going to be a wrestle and we had to be in that fight,” Douche said.

“I told them if we roll over it will end 40-20 to them so we had to dig deep.”

Both sides dug deep with no score for the first 30 minutes of the half, each probing for a gap, and with each defence standing firm.

“Our execution wasn’t great first 20 minutes, poor kicking, but we adjusted and we came through,”Douche added.

“But both teams should be very proud of that performance. It was top quality. Credit to everyone.”

Then with less than ten minutes on the clock Drew Lloyd dived over in the corner from dummy half and the visitors were back in front.

But the never-say-die attitude of Rockingham was always going to give us a thrilling finale and when Logan Barclay dived over in the right hand corner it was all square.

Tuuta-Edwards missed a difficult conversion from the touchline and one play from the kickoff brought a thriller of a game to an end.

“A great advert for the game in WA from two top sides,” Murphy added.

“Defensively we again showed in that second half what we can achieve against a noble and fast pack.

“The big positive for me was our resilience - how we came back from 20-0 down to level it. That was good to see.”