Moruya Sharks affirmed its favouritism in the Group 16 premiership race as it surged in the second half to win the nine-a-side tournament at Bill Smyth Oval, Narooma on March 19.
Moruya’s defence had not leaked a point before the final, but was trailing 4-nil at half-time after a cross-field kick led Tigers’ Zac Henstock to an untouched try in the left-hand corner.
The Sharks had more possession in the second stanza and equalised with a long-range try to Hayden Murray.
Moruya then put the kick-off out on the full over the dead-ball line and the Tigers tapped at half-way. However, a strip swung momentum to Moruya.
A few tackles later, Shark Dillion Johnston scooted from dummy-half and caught the Tigers short of players on its right-side.
He passed to Ray Turner, who bumped off a tackler to score gifting the Sharks an 8-4 lead with seconds remaining.
The hooter sounded as the next kick-off went up and Batemans Bay conceded defeat.
Tigers’ captain Mason Harrison praised his players for pushing on despite a few injuries and thanked Moruya and Narooma clubs for a competitive final and day.
Sharks’ coach Tim Weyman was impressed by his team’s defence, allowing just four points in four games.
He said his side wanted to keep teams to zero throughout the day.
“We lost a couple of players earlier in the day to injury, but the younger players stood up. We’ve got a lot of young guys coming through which is good, they all played well,” Weyman said.
In the semi-finals, last year’s nines premiers, Batemans Bay, beat Narooma in and end-to-end game which went down to the final play.
Narooma’s pacey outside backs entertained spectators while Harrison’s chip and chase solo try was the difference in the final score.
Moruya clipped Bega in the first semi-final, but Bega declined to play the third-place playoff against Narooma.
In the pool games, Moruya beat Batemans Bay 24-nil, Bega edged Merimbula-Pambula 14-4, Narooma beat Candelo-Bemboka 43-nil, Cooma lost to Batemans Bay 4-30, Merimbula-Pambula beat Bombala 18-10, Eden beat Candelo-Bemboka 22-10, Moruya defeated Cooma 30-nil and Bega beat Bombala 24-21.