TULLIBEGEAL Lakes United have sealed third place on the Group 20 ladder and a valuable second chance in the finals series defeating Yenda 32-16 yesterday.
Buoyed by a home ground advantage, the Sharks were in front for the majority of the match and proved too strong for the Blueheelers.
The loss means Yenda will now face Bidgee Hurricanes in an elimination semi-final on Saturday while the Sharks will take on West Wyalong in the qualifying semi-final on Sunday.
TLU lead 16-6 at half-time and held onto their advantage throughout the second half, despite handling errors creeping into their performance.
“It was our aim at the start of the game to come home with the win to get a second crack at the finals,” TLU coach Brent Pike said.
“You can breathe a lot easier now with that second crack at the finals.
“It’s a bit of relief with the second chance instead of doing it the hard way, because if you have a lapse there is still next week.”
Centre Alex Ronayne, Jarrad Cahill and Matt Toole were among the best for the Sharks, with Pike impressed with the platform the forwards provided.
“Our forward pack stepped up and played well and I’m really happy with our defence,” he said.
“Our handling errors are something we still have to improve on.
“We gave them too much ball and had to do it the hard way, defending a few sets on our own line and we were lucky to hold them out.”
Apart from coming away from the match with the win Pike was pleased that his team fared well on the injury front, with a sternum injury to lock Jock Potter their only concern ahead of the game against West Wyalong.
“It was a very physical game (against Yenda),” he said.
“It is always tough playing Wyalong at Wyalong, it is a local derby for us, so it will be a cracker of a game.”