The Jets went into the game without their two most experienced players who have been instrumental in the club's successful season so far, and the midfield underwent a major overhaul in their absence. Ryan Weller and Jon Collins went into the middle to team with RJ Meza and ruckman Mac Oroke, and things seemed to be going well with the Jets kicking the first goal of the game inside the first two minutes. But from there it came undone as the Sharks took control of the center clearances and slammed on six goals straight to leave the Jets shell shocked and scrambling. A late goal brought the deficit back to 4 goals but the signs were not good for the Jets, with the Sharks running into space and getting the ball under little to no pressure from OC.
A quick spray from the coach combined with some major adjustments and the Jets came out a different side in the second quarter. Collins and Weller went forward to team up with Tyler Mounce in an effort to exploit the height advantage. Into the midfield came veteran Mick Griffiths and rookie Mike "Manny" Rivera, who is in his first year of football. These guys were given the job of combining with Oroke and RJ Meza to try to take back control of the midfield. Unlikely as it seemed, suddenly the midfield clicked and Meza, who had been well held to this point, came to life. Oroke dominated the hitouts as before but now he was getting reward for effort as the Jets started winning the clearances. Meza and Rivera were everywhere, breaking tackles and winning the contested ball, while Griffiths played outside and got a lot of the ball and sent it forward well. In addition Seb Aguiari was given the tagging job on the Sharks most dangerous player between stints in the midfield.
This group got the Jets back in the game, and for such an inexperienced bunch who had never played these roles together before, it was an outstanding effort.
With the midfield getting control, the tall forward trio went to work. Tyler Mounce continued his excellent season with a breakout 6 goal game at CHF, while Collins was leading up from FF well and looked very dangerous before rolling his ankle in the 3rd quarter and taking no further part in the game. Into his place came KB Nelson who was important kicking a couple of clutch goals, while Ryan Weller started throwing his weight around and added some much needed pressure to the forward line.
The Bombers backs were a bit thrown by the change in structure, and by the three man defense due to having to play in the 10-a-side format for the first time all year. Although they gave up a big score they still got the job done especially in the 4th quarter, restricting the Sharks to just two scoring shots for the term. Full back Steve Stampbach was solid once again, as was Frank Kenney. Cameo appearances from some veterans kept the backline fresh and tight all day.
The Jets now look forward to defending the SCAFL Premiership in Irvine on June 10.
Jets 2.2 4.0 5.2 6.0 17.4 106
Sharks 6.2 4.2 3.1 2.0 15.5 95
Goals: Mounce 6, Collins 3, Meza, Weller, Nelson 2, Harrington, Oroke 1
Best: Mounce, Oroke, Meza, Collins, Griffiths, Rivera, Weller.