Breakers v Sharks

Round 22 report by Chris Dunkerley
Newcastle Breakers v Adelaide Sharks

Referee: E Brazzale 8/10 ; Crowd: 3,204. Game rating 6/10. Yellow cards: Yellow cards: Pryce, Haythornwaite NB, Artone AS

After a hard week at work sitting down in front of the TV on a Frioday night to watch the Breakers play is a pleasant diversion (but not a jot on being there - except the drive!). Last night it was also in hope that we could continue the momentum that had seen us hang by the fingernails to a chance of a top 6 spot. With Rab Shannon and Glenn Sprod out I worried about our wide penetration. The Sports Aus commentators yacked on about the poor condition of the pitch due to rain (true) and I was more worried for we are not a wet track team. Yoon also out - strangely that's a problem due to Tancheski and Borghetto being still out - but Owens and the elevated Tony Bauer are quality talents. What! - neither in the starting line? Hmm....

The first half started with the Breakers pushing the front men forward but keeping their 'powder dry' at the back. Umlil at the 5min mark is denied by quick thinking and within a minute Catlin denies Duric at the other end. Buonovaglia slips through the flat Sharks defence like a hot knife through butter but his angled weak shot rolls past the far (r) post. Generally Breakers are presurring and Adelaide can't get into the area. Ritchie volleys over but then Newcastle drops its head, and the Sharks start to pressure. Alagich blasts one at Catlin, while Witchy shoots at Wildy from a left side corner. For the next 15 mins their is a dour midfield battle but the Sharks are getting more possession. Pryce makes a rare mistake on Poimer and a cross is luckily cleared. At about 42 mins (I think) Witchy slips a delightfull through ball to Johnny B and Buonovaglia dummies Wildy and slots it home. 1-0 Buonovaglia continues to torment the back 4.

The second half sees the Sharks with much more commitment and there is 15 mins of end to end battling but the Breakers are too complacent leading to a free kick at the edge of the area which Artone slots over the wall and past Catlin into the top right corner (our view) 1-1. Breakers make a perfunctory attempt to equalise with first Hathornthwaite, then Johnny B, and then substitute Owens (free kick). The Sharks shrug of this and at the 73 min Castro scores off an attempted clearance by Catlin 1-2. The cross was got in due to a mistake by McManus on Poimer. Then Duric shoots wide, Owens stretches Wildy, but when Artone shoots wide it looks like Adelaide may run away with the game. The intrusion of youth league talents Maquire and Bauer lift Newcastle's work rate and options. Owens makes room, passes to Buonovaglia, whose ball is slotted away by Haythornthwaite 2-2. The time runs out whilst Bauer and Maquire try to salvage the extra 2 points - to no avail.

Not a great game, not the hoped for Breakers play, the Sharks showed commitment and some up front talent. I wonder why Sterrey didn't use Owens for the poor Umlil early on, and inject Bauer and Maguire earlier. With the return after the Bye of Shannon, Sprod, Borghetto, Tancheski, and even Chad Mansley (YL) - he has some good choices; but I now believe TOO LATE for the top 6. Now is the time to get the young players into the action at the top level.

NB Best: Buonovaglia, Wieczorek, Roberts

PS. No news about the Buy-out, but if the rumours about a Soc Aus EXTORTION demand for $500,000 is true they have a lot to answer for!! Remember the Bradley Report!?