|Sharks outshine Bill
PAUL KENT - www.news.com.au, 22 Jul '02
It was, quite simply, stunning.
Cronulla trailed 18-0 at halftime and then went on a
bizarre 46-point scoring spree that, if it didn't set the
record for second half comebacks, it surely gives it a
The massive second half fightback came as referee Bill
Harrigan made his comeback to first grade rugby league
yesterday and in his own inimitable fashion
managed to grab another fair share of the attention.
It happened in the 59th minute shortly after the
Sharks had grabbed the lead when Jamie Goddard
knocked on at dummy-half while stepping over Jason
Harrigan whistled a penalty and Goddard reacted, throwing
the ball at Stevens.
By then the Sharks roll had been set and Harrigan
"We weren't in the ballpark with 12 men against a
side like that," Eagles coach Peter Sharp said
Afterwards, Goddard went into Harrigan's dressing room to
determine the nature of his discretion, unsure whether it
was the verbal he gave Stevens or the ball that followed
Harrigan described the meeting as "amicable".
Sharp said he was disappointed with it, saying of
Goddard's visit: "I'm not sure what was said and I'm
not entirely sure he was in agreement with him but that's
Bill isn't it at the moment."
It was one of a number of crucial refereeing decisions
that tipped the running against the Eagles though
it had started heading that way anyway.
The Eagles scored three long distance first half tries to
lead 18-0 at the break, an effort that gave the 14,621
strong crowd every reason to continue their refound love
affair with the Brookie-based team.
Despite the scoreline, though, Cronulla coach Chris
Anderson was far from worried given the fact much of the
football had been played where the Sharks wanted to play
All he was looking for after the break was better
control, field position, the usual stuff. It didn't take
long for things to begin to tip the Sharks' way.
A superb piece of opportunity came their way five minutes
into the second period when hooker Dean Treister
stretched for a try only to have the ball jolted loose by
Brendan Reeves' knee.
Harrigan called for the video referee, with many looking
to see whether Treister had lost control of it or whether
Reeves had knocked it loose. That was what was eventually
ruled, and then almost as an afterthought the video
continued where it showed Danny Nutley picking it up and
scoring, unopposed, as the rest of the players had
David Peachey scored three minutes later and then four
minutes after that the Sharks got their second piece of
fortune when Paul Franze lost the ball over his shoulder
and had it ruled a knock back.
Several tackles later Peachey was over again, levelling
the score at 18-18.
The highly unlikely was now looking not only likely, but
was heading towards the Twilight Zone.
Two minutes later Nick Graham grubbered the ball off
Menzies' leg, through John Hopoate's legs, and Matt Rieck
scored in the corner.
Around here Goddard went for a break and it was lights
out. For all intents, the Eagles were shot.
They had picked this day to launch their new Eagle Rock
soundtrack, Marcia Hines was there to perform it, and
soon enough the crowd started heading for the exits.
Luckily they shot the video footage at the halftime
break. Anderson was happy, saying, "It's a good
thing, if you're down 18-0, to believe you're still in
the game. That's a big thing."
The silent killer was the main determinant for success in
the modern game: ball possession.
"It's hard to believe," Sharp said of the
turnaround, "but in saying that we had two
possessions in the first 16 minutes of the second half
and we turned the ball over on play two and play three.
We had 10 sets the entire second half which is not enough
footy for our team to compete like that."
|Cronulla Sharks: 46
Tries: Peachey 2,Rieck 2, Nutley, Bosnich, Graham,
Goals: Kimmorley 7
Tries: King, Watmough, Creary, Miles.
Goals: Williamson 4
Referee: Bill Harrigan