Sharks snap losing streak with second-ever win
Albany have recorded a breakthrough win in the Great Southern Football League, notching their second-ever league win and snapping a 45-game losing streak after powering past Denmark-Walpole on Sunday afternoon.
There were jubilant scenes post-match, usually not seen in a home-and-away game, as the Sharks won only their second league game in 106 matches after the 21-point triumph over the Magpies at Centennial Stadium.
Despite kicking the first two goals of the game, the Sharks trailed the visitors at quarter and half-time, but the young, new-look Sharks turned the tide quickly with a five-goal third term.
Entering the final term with an eight-point lead, the Sharks played on emotion as they booted the first four goals of the quarter to surge clear and hold off a Magpies side that kept coming, especially when big man Shayne Zanetti had the ball in his hands.
Fraser Eaton goaled from an almost immediate 50m penalty in the fourth and that was followed by majors to Jack Banks, Robbie Lee and Ben Fleck as the margin moved beyond 30 points, with the Sharks going on to record a memorable victory, 15.13 (103) to 12.10 (82).
It was a triumphant moment for the Sharks, the club’s sole league victory coming back in 2015, but that was in the final round. Things are far different this time around though, as the Sharks sit second on the ladder for the first time, have been able to recruit a host of talented players and have renewed hope for the season ahead.
Sharks coach Kim Mayfield is not one to show too much emotion but he was left beaming as his charges belted out their team song.
“It’s pure relief, it’s been a long 8-10 with lots of expectation from within and externally,” Mayfield said.
“When Denmark kicked the first goal of the third, we’d usually let teams kick the next two or three in recent years.
“I always thought we’d run the game out pretty well and our new recruits were great.
“A lot of those guys have won plenty of games, so that certainly helped. “I thought the third quarter was our best and we made a couple of changes at half-time that worked, Eaton and Banks forward and Kieran Gowdie into the ruck.”
Banks was outstanding in the win, kicking three goals when he went forward and also playing well in the midfield, while Bryce Blaszkow, Dylan Gowdie and Rick Wallis also played vital parts in the win.
Dwayne Coyne bobbed up to be the hero in attack for the Sharks with five goals straight, while new additions Taj Williams (19 possessions) and Coen Marwick (18 and two goals) were both solid.
The Magpies won the inside 50 count, 47-43 and had 13 entries in the final stanza, but when the Sharks were on a roll, they simply couldn’t halt their momentum.
Zanetti was quite possibly the most influential player on the ground, racking up a stack of disposals and booting six goals, three of which came while rucking in the third term, to keep his side in the hunt.
The returning Dave MacDonald was a positive with 27 possessions and nine marks, Tyler Stone (two goals) played well, while new co-coach Ryan Gaerth was busy in the first half and finished with 25 touches.
“We had a couple of patches where we were just non-existent,” Gaerth said. “They kicked four goals in a row twice, we were slow to transition the ball and they scored quite easily.
“We are lacking a bit of fitness and chemistry but some of our link-up stuff was really good and we are not just bombing it down the line like we have done in the past.”
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