SHELLHARBOUR have moved towards the semi-finals with another victory following a hard fought 32-22 win over Port Kembla at Noel Mulligan Oval on Sunday.
The Sharks led 22-6 at half-time and didn’t have it all their own way as the Blacks took it to the visitors for the entirety of the game.
After a couple of sets for the two sides to work their way into the game it was the Blacks who opened the scoring.
The decision to run the ball on the fifth proved and inspired when back-rower Kaine Edwards hit back in behind the ruck and touched down under the posts.
Mark Simon’s conversion made it 6-nil.
The lead wasn’t destined to last long however and Shellharbour evened it up with their next possession.
A penalty helped the visitors find themselves on the Blacks’ line and Hans Schuster made the home side pay, darting out of dummy half and finding Brad Chapman on his inside who went in under the posts.
Bronx Goodwin’s conversion levelled it 6-all.
Shellharbour would soon take a lead they would never surrender.
A grubber from Schuster earned his side a repeat set and from the ensuing scrum Ian Catania skipped to the outside of his man and sent winger Michael McKinley over in the corner for 10-6.
Shellharbour were looking dangerous and ill-discipline from Port Kembla again saw the Sharks on the attack.
Front-rower Matt Hillcoat extended the lead when he strolled through a yawning gap to cross untouched.
Goddwin’s conversion made it 16-6.
Things were going from bad to worse for the Blacks as captain Mark Simon was sin-binned following a string of Port Kembla infringements.
Shellharbour made the most of the one-man advantage, half-back Justin Rodrigues bounced off a number of defenders to score.
Goodwin again on target with the boot to make it 22-6
Shellharbour should have added to that score when Harold Snell burst through, the lock had his pick of teammates in support but died with the ball on the siren.
Shellharbour were looking dangerous at the beginning of the second stanza, but it was the home side who struck first again.
A repeat set gave Port a sniff and Tane Sturmey made the most of the opportunity when he found some space out wide to bring it to 22-10.
Just as it looked like they were back in the game, a lapse in defence brought Port Kembla undone.
Reed Harris got on the outside of his man and raced away to score in the corner to extend the Shellharbour lead to 26-10.
Some luck then helped Port back into the game, Josh Edwards was in the right place at the right time as a Shellharbour pass hit him right on the chest.
The back-rower raced 40 metres to score next to the up-rights and Mark Simon converted for 26-16.
The Edwards try then heralded in a period of poor execution for both sides as stoppages became a regular occurrence.
As the game was petering out, Shellharbour youngster Kurt Field bought it back to life as he streaked away down the sideline before sending Jamie Manukonga over.
Goodwin converted for 32-16.
To Port’s credit they kept fighting and Kaine Edwards got a well deserved double when Simon sent him over the line on the stroke of full-time.
Simon’s conversion rounded out the score at 32-22.
For Shellharbour Snell, Schuster and Rodrigues all had fine games while Simon and the Edwards brothers were the pick of the Blacks.