West Harbour proved their finals credentials by toppling Southern Districts in a round-10 Shute Shield thriller at Concord Oval.
The Pirates were behind 26-8 in the second half before staging a miraculous comeback to steal the points five tries to two.
The Rebels got out to a 13-3 lead with a try to No.8 Luke Smart before a reply on the stroke of half-time by Pirates winger Alofa Alofa reduced the gap to 13-8 at the break.
The Pirates’ attacking flair was on show late in the game, with a remarkable four tries, topped off by a brilliant fend and try to five-eighth Jack Debreczeni that put them ahead for the first time in the 77th minute.
Early on, Southern got out to a 6-3 lead through the boot of five-eighth Rohan Saifoloi. West Harbour held possession for much of the next 15 minutes but could not find a way through some sturdy Southern defence. Instead, when the Rebels got hold of the ball, they got it out wide to Smart, where the back-rower put on a fend to score the first try, cleverly converted by Saifoloi from out wide.
Souths halfback Grayson Hart was cautioned by referee Angus Gardner on the half hour for an armless tackle that sent Pirates prop Vaughan Lomax cartwheeling. Wests then tried to use their enormous scrum to gain a five-pointer, but instead had to spread the ball to winger Alofa, who scored just before the break.
A growing penalty count continued to hurt the Pirates, as Saifoloi put the visitors up 19-8 with two penalty goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half. The Pirates then launched a stunning comeback, putting on three quick tries, to outside-centre Henry Seavula, a five-metre pushover try to No.8 Matt Coles and a runaway effort to fullback Shaun Treweek, which left the gap at just one point before Debreczeni’s late effort earned a great win.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.