THE curse of the pink jersey nearly came back to haunt the Rockingham Sharks again on Saturday in their Smarter Than Smoking Premiership clash with the South Perth Lions at Franklin Offshore Sportsplex.
The Sharks wore a special pink kit to celebrate Women in League round – an event in previous years that has seen them always lose.
For much of the second half of this pulsating game, it looked as if history would repeat itself, as the Sharks, with several key players injured, had to survive an onslaught from the visitors to edge home 14-10.
Steve Widders was the star of the show in that first half, with an intelligent kicking game, both long, short and high, as he tested the Lions defence.
Sadly for the player, he suffered a game-ending knee injury that required hospital treatment just before the interval. It is still uncertain how many weeks he may miss as the Sharks aim for finals football with just five regular-season games left.
“Losing Steve was a blow, but we have played without him before, so we’ll take stock at training in midweek and make some calls then,” coach Darren Shaw said.
Of the game, Shaw was happy, but frustrated as his side often gave up possession to offer the Lions a chance to grab victory.
“If I had hair, I’d be pulling it out,” he said.
“But credit to all of them. At the end, in that final 15 minutes, we had no replacements on the bench and players forced to play out of position. We dug deep and we hung on.”
Shaw knows his side can play better than that, but to win ‘ugly’ against a good Lions side was a sign this team has the makings of a good finals outfit.
“A real arm-wrestle,” was how coach Shaw summed it up afterwards.
An arm-wrestle that saw the Sharks maintain their top-of-the-ladder position on points difference ahead of Fremantle, with the two due to meet in two weeks time.