Sharks primed to have another crack at the League premiership


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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The Sharks were too strong for the Roosters on the weekend. Image: Supplied (Darryl Day, Atherton Roosters)

The Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks are on the brink of a Premiership repeat when they take on Innisfail Leprechauns in the Cairns District Rugby League A-Grade Grand Final at Barlow Park on Saturday at 7.00pm.

But it was touch-and-go until the ninth minute of extra time when they scored the winning points to defeat Atherton Roosters 32-28 in this preliminary final.

The Sharks will be hoping to emulate last year’s success when they defeated Tully Tigers 36-12 in the Grand Final, which was also their first Premiership in 20 years.

A happy Sharks coach Brian Murgha said he was extremely proud of the players.

“We had belief in ourselves, we had our backs to the wall and we overcame every hurdle to achieve the much-wanted result,” he said.

“I am confident that we can retain the Premiership. The players’ attitude is there for all to see and they are committed to beating Innisfail.

“I am hoping that everyone across the shire gets behind us and those who travel to the game will not be disappointed. I’d like to see a sea of blue in the crowds,” said Murgha.

Winger Stanley Anau was a clear standout scoring three tries. He moved from fullback to the wing to accommodate the late inclusion of Matthew Gibuma.

But Murgha will be acutely aware of the recent loss to Innisfail. In the grand final qualifier, the Sharks built up a formidable 22-6 halftime lead, only to lose 32-26.

After the match, Murgha said his players went to sleep.

“We’ve learned from this. We know we must play for 80 minutes and this will be our intention in Saturday’s final,” he said.

The Sharks will be contesting the A-grade and reserve grade grand finals.

The finals program for Barlow Park:

Grand final Saturday 21 September 2019

• 3:00pm: Gates open
• 4:00 pm: U18 Edmonton v Cairns Brothers
• 5:30 pm: Reserve Grade: Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks v Cairns Brothers
• 7:00 pm: A-Grade Grand Final: Brothers Innisfail v Mossman-Port Douglas Sharks

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