SHELLHARBOUR City Sharks have confirmed a spot in the South Coast Rugby League top three, and at the same time inflicted Kiama Knights a fifth straight loss, as they scored a 32-18 victory at Kiama Showground on Sunday.
In a game dominated by frequent stoppages through injuries and poor handling, the Sharks only really got on top of a plucky home side in the final 11 minutes when they skipped away with two late tries.
While they never really looked in danger of losing, the Knights hung tough and made them work for every point and looked a chance right up until those final few minutes when they only trailed 24-18.
The Sharks jumped out of the blocks when centre Ben Stratton scored out wide in just the third minute, and made it 10-nil in the 13th minute when fullback Ian Catania showed great evasive skills to crash over.
Bronx Goodwin converted and the visitors led 10-nil.
Kiama to this point had looked outclassed, but a superb solo effort from recalled winger Jacob Dolan had them on the board in the 17th minute and he had a double two minutes later when five-eighth Keiran Poole’s grubber-kick was regathered by his brother Travis who threw a long ball that resulted in Dolan strolling over.
Matt Gladman was on target with both conversions and suddenly the Knights had taken a 12-10 lead.
But the Sharks still had plenty in reserve.
Youngster Kurt Field squeezed over in the corner and just before the break they again found space on the left and replacement winger Michael McKinley finished well and with Goodwin landing a super conversion, the Sharks went to half-time ahead 20-12.
The Shellharbour side looked like going on with the job just after the break when Goodwin gave Jamie Manukonga a saloon passage to the corner to stretch the lead to 12 and it looked like an easy afternoon coming up with 30 minutes remaining.
However the Knights has different ideas and Dolan somehow managed to wriggle out of three tackles and force his way over for his hat-trick.
With Gladman again on target it was game-on.
But in the end it was the class of the Sharks that shone through as they stormed home, with Goodwin grabbing his own glory with a well-taken try in the 69th minute and the Sharks rounded out the scoring four minutes later when McKinley grabbed his second for a 32-18 win.
Harold Snell had a superb game up front for the Sharks and was well supported by Craig Stapleton, Justin Rodrigues, Bronx Goodwin and Brad Chapman, while Dolan, Brent Wake, Travis Poole and Keiran Poole never stopped trying for the Knights.