Heartbreak as Sharks fall just short

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Albany's coach Kim Mayfield makes a point at quarter time.
Camera IconAlbany's coach Kim Mayfield makes a point at quarter time. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Albany coach Kim Mayfield says his side must learn from the pain of another narrow loss after the Sharks missed their best chance to register their second ever league win, falling short by three points to ladder leaders Railways on Saturday night.

The fast-finishing Sharks appeared likely to cause the boilover of the decade as they closed the margin to three points with two minutes remaining at Centennial Stadium.

The Tigers were forced to survive an almighty scare as the Sharks failed to capitalise on the momentum in the final two minutes of the match to pinch a match-winning goal.

Trailing by three points after ruckman Stewart Davies slotted a long 40m set shot, the Sharks could not find a target inside 50 to steal back the lead.

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The ladder leaders were forced to defend dourly in the final minutes and held on with the siren sounding with play on the Sharks half-forward line, running out 7.11 (53) to 8.2 (50) winners.

Mayfield said his players were visibly shattered after the match.

“They were pretty devastated, a few were in tears — it was a game we should have won,” he said.

“On Saturday we did most things right. We were finishing the better.

“We don’t want to be happy with losing.

“At the end of the day, we need to feel that pain of losing those close ones.

“The good sides find a way to win and unfortunately we were not on the right side of the scoreboard.”

The loss was the Sharks’ sixth under five goals this season and their second single-figure loss after falling short by nine points in round 4 to Mt Barker.

The Sharks led by one point at half-time after booting five consecutive goals in arguably their best quarter of the season, but the match was thrown into uncertainty after an ambulance was called in the third term to treat Sharks defender Luke Pitman for concussion.

The ambulance was called after Pitman went down after being tackled, with play delayed for the next 23 minutes.

With the third quarter only lasting seven minutes after it was brought to an end because of the delay in play, both sides battled for ascendency in the last term, with scores tied at three-quarter-time.

Tigers player-coach Craig Frost conceded his side were outplayed for longer periods of the match.

“Our blokes just thought it was going to just happen,” he said.

“They rattled us with the pressure and intent around the ball.

“That two weeks off really hurt us. We came out flat, but credit to the Sharks the way they played.”

The Tigers went into the match without key movers Zane Marwick and Mitch Green (both injury), key forward Zak Hortin and captain Bodhi Stubber (unavailable), and struggled after quarter-time.

It was left to exciting forward Kenton Gibbs to save the Tigers at key points in the match, finishing with three important goals on the evening when many of his teammates lacked intensity.

Ruckman Stewart Davies and key defender Marcus Mellon were a force in the air for the Sharks who produced the better football for longer periods.

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