WRFL: False dawn for Sharks as Dragons pull away 

THE first half of the opening term between Sunshine Heights and Sanctuary Lakes on Saturday, which saw the Sharks kick the first five goals, suggested the match would end in a thumping.

And it did; but it was the Dragons who won by 91 points, moving them three games clear in fifth spot on the Western Region Football League division 2 ladder.

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Sanctuary Lakes came out breathing fire at the start of the contest. It dominated early play, but Sunshine Heights, looking to keep in touch with the top four, answered from there on, kicking 25 of the next 32 goals.

By quarter-time, the Dragons were five points in front, and by half-time they were 34 ahead, after a seven-goal second term. 

The first 15 minutes of play seemed stranger as the game wore on, as Sunshine Heights won the second half comfortably.

The Sharks were still hitting the scoreboard, but weren’t able to maintain pressure as the Dragons stood up offensively and buckled down without the ball. 

Five goals in the third term increased the lead to 48 points by three-quarter time.

The last quarter was dominanted by Sunshine Heights, who went dangerously close to the 100-point mark with seven goals. Sanctuary Lakes could manage only one.

Keelan Privitera and James Ciarlo capped off a fortnight of domination,  both kicking seven goals. The pair have kicked 27 goals between them in the past two weeks.

Dragons coach Daniel Xuereb said his midfield was the key to turning the game around. “They smashed us in the clearances in the first 10 to 15 minutes,” he said. 

“That woke us up and our leaders stepped up; we kept fighting and got on top in the midfield. They definitely came out to play with the first five goals and we slowly pegged them back. 

‘‘We were in front at quarter-time but didn’t deserve to be.”

Xuereb cited close losses to Wyndham Vale and Manor Lakes as reasons the team     s would be competitive come finals time. 

“We lost those by a couple of kicks so we’re right in it,” he said. 

In other matches, Braybrook was hammered by 160 points by Parkside; Caroline Springs was no match for Wyndham Vale, suffering a 97-point loss; and North Sunshine lost by 182 points to Albanvale.