SHELLHARBOUR City scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to run away with a 26-6 win against the Berry Magpies at Berry Showground on Saturday.
The home side showed plenty of fight in the first half and were well and truly in the hunt with the scores locked up at 6-all at the break.
The Sharks opened their account inside the first 10 minutes when front-rower Mat Docker was too strong for the Magpies defenders near the line and forced his way over from close range.
It was a straightforward shot at goal for Bronx Goodwin, who had no trouble adding the extras to give the Sharks a 6-nil lead.
Anyone who thought the early try might be a sign of lots of points to come would have been sadly mistaken, as both sides looked like they needed a better GPS if they were going to find their way over the line.
The Magpies threw everything except maybe the kitchen sink at the Sharks in the search for their first points but looked like they might go into the break empty-handed.
Shortly before the break, the Sharks looked to have held strong on their line once again, only to be penalised for a shoulder charge, which gave the Magpies another crack.
Magpies five-eighth Josh Ingold had tried kicking late the tackle count numerous times throughout the first half, but it was when he decided to run it himself that he finally found his way over for their first try.
Ingold went in under the posts to give Josh Coulter an easy conversion attempt and leveled it up at 6-all.
The Magpies had one more shot before the half time break, which went astray after a Josh Coulter bomb on the fifth tackle was launched into the stratosphere before going out on the full.
The 6-all scoreline at the break was probably largely due to the high error rate from both ends rather than spectacular defence, but it was still either sides for the taking.
Early signs were ominous for the Magpies in the second half when Harold Snell split them right up the middle in the first set of six after resumption.
But as Snell looked for a support player, his pass instead found the hands of Josh Coulter, who was unable to complete the intercept, but saved a near certain try in the process.
However, the Magpies were unable to hold out for long and conceded a soft try when Sharks five-eighth Jai Dormer went in almost untouched after running the ball from a scrum.
Dormer was back in the action just two minutes later when he pounced on a grubber from halfback Justin Rodrigues and had his second try for the afternoon.
When Goodwin easily converted both of Dormer’s tries, the Sharks stretched out to an 18-6 lead.
The Magpies may have had last week’s game against Warilla in the back of their minds, where they managed to get themselves back in the game, but unfortunately it was one-way traffic for the Sharks.
A brilliant long-range try to veteran Sharks winger Jamie Manukonga put the game beyond the Magpies reach, before Goodwin put the final nail in the coffin when he went over in the corner to make it 26-6.
The Magpies never gave up in their search for consolation points, but the Sharks held strong and thwarted any opportunities late in the game.
Manukonga, Dormer and Mat Docker were all strong for the Sharks, while Josh Ingold, Joe Rogers and Blaine Rosz never gave in for the Magpies.