Sharks attack at touch titles
By RACHEL GRANT
WITH cross town rivals the Sydney Scorpions and Sydney Mets vying for the Mixed Open title and with the Mets aiming for their third straight silverware, the crowd had gathered expecting a brilliant game of Touch.
The Scorpions had held the Mets to a narrow 6-5 win in their round match, but the Mets grabbed an early lead and dominated the play until half time.
The score was soon 3-2 after John Dalton dived across the line, with the crowd brought to life by the defence from both sides.
The young Mets side retaliated quickly with a touchdown from Mixed debutant Cameron Nich-olls, taking them to a 4-2 lead.
A fantastic long ball by Mets captain and experience Australian representative, Tony El Takchi made the crowd erupt, as he sent Steve Takchi over the line to take their lead to 5-2.
When the final siren blew and the score was official at 6-2, Tony El Takchi was carried off the field by his jubilant teammates, extremely proud of the effort his team put in.
"We've got 8 debutantes in this team who have never played Mixed Touch at this level, this just feels fantastic, and it's a big victory for us," he said.
WITH the Mets defending their 2005 NTL title and the Sharks being led by Australian captain Sharyn Williams, it took just four minutes of play for the Sharks and Mets to lock the score at 1-1.
After the Sharks had grabbed a 2-1 lead, Louise Winchester took just moments to even the score.
The see-saw continued with the Sharks teamwork setting up another touch down for the Sharks.
Not to be outdone, Louise Winchester crossed the line again, with the touchdown only awarded after Sharks defender Roxy Winder admitted to missing a last effort dive.
The Sharks ball movement was brilliant, crossing from one side of the field to the other, creating an overlap and sending Tina McIlveen over to score in the corner.
That score would seal the match for the Sharks, holding out 4-3 in the final two minutes of the game.
Sharks Coach Mook Harrington Snr was quick to praise the effort of his players.
"We had a game plan today and the girls executed it beautifully, I'm very relieved because it is always tough against a quality side such as the Mets, especially when they have such a long list of Australian representatives," he said.
WITH the defending champions in the ring and their opposition scoring on the first set of six touches, the crowd knew they were in for a great grand final.
After several tense minutes of play they managed to cross over, albeit a little controversially as the Mets claimed the touch on the line.
Half time brought a change in flow, as the Sharks took the lead in the first minute through Mark Hartley. Jason Yee responded for the Mets immediately, bringing the score back to 2-2.
Dean McKechnie scored his second after a Garry Sonda special (through the legs, to the amazement of the crowd), taking the Mets ahead 3-2.
Drummayne Dayberg-Muir and Nathan Jones were not to be outdone though, putting on a Sharks show for the crowd and the TV cameras, passing beautifully and diving over the line, past the Mets defenders to equal the score.
Gary Sonda lifted to another level, his long pass giving the Mets back the lead before Jones again created another score for the Sharks, diving over to bring it to 4-4 with five minutes to go.
When the Sharks attacked the scoreline in the corner and claimed the touchdown, there was a moment of hesitation as the referees conferred, adding to the drama of the match.
With the touchdown awarded, the Sharks held on for a 5-4 win, with coach Mark Ruggeri extremely excited about the win.
"We had eight new faces in the team this year and really had to rebuild from the 2005 win," he said.
"When we were beaten in the round matches I think that really forced us to re-group and re-think our plans."