A HARLEY Gore hat-trick was the catalyst for the Port Macquarie Sharks continuing their unbeaten Group 3 rugby league run with a win over the Port City Breakers yesterday.
Gore was a standout at fullback for the Sharks in a quality match in which they kept their status as the benchmark of the 2015 competition. The 32-12 win was their seventh straight triumph.
In the process, Gore and the Sharks spoiled the Breakers 100th match parties for veteran Daniel Dumas and captain Adrian Daley at Regional Stadium.
Zac Aylward, Scott Grant and Joe Cudmore joined Gore on the scoresheet for the Sharks. David Geary booted three goals and Tyrone Nelson one.
Tom Dooker and Daley scored Breakers’ tries, and Daley and Michael Marshall kicked a goal each.
The first half was described by one punter as the best 40 minutes of Group 3 footy all year as the Sharks and Breakers went set for set in a quality showing.
Ill discipline cost the Breakers, and they were on the wrong end of an 8-0 penalty count at the break. “You can’t keep doing that,” Daley said.
They fought their way back into the encounter in the middle third, before a strong Shipway run turned things around.
He busted through a couple of tackles and ran about 30 metres after a sustained period of defensive pressure. His break led to a Gore try a couple of tackles later.
Shipway was delighted with his team’s effort, particularly in defence, but he stressed the job was only half done with the season clicking over into the second round. He pointed to the middle third of the match as a problem for his team.
The Sharks caught the Breakers’ discipline disease and that led to some pressure at the wrong end of the park.
But Shipway was delighted with his team’s defence in the middle during that period.
“We just kept talking, sliding and numbering up,” he said. “It was a really good defensive effort.”
He was excited to win both derbies of the season and secure the bragging rights of the Sharks/Breakers rivalry for 2015.
Playing out the best game of the season so far was an added bonus.
“It was probably the best quality game, set for set,” he said.
The Sharks will try to continue their run with a match against Old Bar next weekend.
The Breakers will face Wingham as they look to get among the wins again.
Daley said with a close table, the Breakers wouldn’t be too far from finals footy come the pointy end of the season.
“From second to seventh, there’s only two or three points in it,” he said. “We’ve got to keep winning games to stay in contention.”