THE Moruya Sharks committee and supporters are thrilled to have three teams competing in Group 16’s grand final this weekend.
This is a first for the Sharks and showcases the talent and commitment of the players, as well as the spirit and resolve in the club.
I am particularly proud that the teams are made up of locals with the club not having to import players from other areas to make up the numbers.
First grade won their fourth minor premiership in a row since returning to the competition in 2012 and continues to be the benchmark in Group 16.
The loss of Joel Pietsch late last season and the loss of Dean Scott and captain/coach Tim Weyman to injury have been big blows.
However, the return of Billy Halligan and Michael Weyman has gone some way to plug the gaps.
The influence and leadership of Tim cannot be overstated.
He has gone from player-coach to a nervous non-playing coach and continues to lead and inspire his troops.
Joint-captains Dillon Johnston and Jake Clarke will lead by example, and if the boys can get clean ball out wide the Sharks have the strike power to demolish any opposition.
The senior side is well prepared for the grand final and if they are ready to play they will bring home the trophy on the weekend.
The Reggies are the surprise packet this year; a motley crew of players who turn up week in and week out and thrill the club with their grit and determination.
Minor premiers, and only beaten twice by two points, the Moruya Reggies are the form team in what was a tough competition.
The lads take on the bigger and well-credentialed Candelo-Bemboka United in what should be a great game.
The reserves have relied on the under 18s stepping up every week and with the return of Brent Ayton and Billy Elliott this weekend, they are looking strong. The service of Jacob Hope-Hodgetts has been invaluable in providing size and go-forward, and coach Michael Cottington is thankful to Tim for allowing him to play for the Reggies prior to playing first grade.
Led around the park by Gavin Olive and Merv Brierley, the reserves deserve to be premiers and only need to play to their ability to bring home the trophy.
The under 18s are a team full of talent and deserved to make the grand final.
Under the watchful eye of coach Lee Nye, the boys have the tough task of overcoming a powerful Bega outfit.
The Bega side, unbeaten in two seasons, are big, fast and talented and the Sharks will need to be at their best if they are going to make an impact.
Nye knows he has the talent to be competitive and if the boys control the ball and play strong in defence, an upset could be on the cards.
I am proud to be president of our great club, and on behalf of the committee and members wish all of the players every success and good fortune on the weekend.
Go the Sharkies.
Reggies circle Panthers
MORUYA’s reserve grade team tackles last year’s premiers, Candelo-Bemboka United, in the grand final on Sunday.
The Sharks were this year’s minor premiers and last played in a grand final in 2012.
They snuck through to the decider thanks to a Nathan McDiarmid field goal in the second extra time of the major semi-final against Bega.
Coach Mick Cottington said Candelo’s strength was their big, mobile forward pack.
“We can’t really play them up the middle,” Cottington said.
“Our strength is on the edges, if we can get the ball we should do okay.
“Our guys will defend all day, but we can’t let them have repeat sets on our line as the big fellas will walk all over us.”
The reserves have a full complement and Cottington said he was pleased that his bench had Billy Elliot, Kyle Brierley and Brent Ayton, who have all played first grade this season.
Under 18s in grand final for first time since ‘93
THE Moruya Sharks under 18s team has qualified for its first grand final in 22 years.
The young Sharks surged in the second half of the preliminary final against the combined Merimbula-Pambula-Eden-CBU team to tie the game, before Niles Brigden slotted a drop goal in the shadow of full-time.
Moruya goes into the decider as underdogs against the undefeated Bega Roosters after losing three encounters 34-6, 30-nil and 38-6 this season.
Moruya under 18s coach Lee Nye said he was proud of the team for making its first grand final since 1993.
“It’s a big achievement on behalf of the club, the players and myself,” Nye said.
“I’ve been with the club from juniors to seniors and the club has grown.
“We have lots of youth coming through that look up to us (senior players); so we can do the right thing and be role models.”
He’s relished coaching a group of players he first watched in under 10s.
“I moved away for a bit and have been watching them develop for the past three years,” he said.
The Sharks have plenty of talent but it’s their cohesiveness that impressed Nye.
“The advantage I have is that they’ve been playing football together for a number of years; it’s the connection and combinations that have with each other,” he said.
Nye said Bega was a well-drilled, fit, enthusiastic and confident side and the Sharks will need to look after possession to be “right in it”.
“Ball control let us down in previous games,” he said.
“We want to play field position and muscle up in defence.”
Whatever happens on Sunday, Nye said there’s always a place for them at Moruya.
“I’d like to see a lot them make the next step but if they don’t there is always a good club at Moruya that can look after them.”
“Hopefully we get lots of support.”