Three converted tries in the first 15 minutes gave an indication of an easy afternoon for the NSW Cup Sharks however it proved anything but that with the Bears certainly making a game of it at Remondis Stadium.
After the Sharks had taken an 18-0 lead the North Sydney side showed plenty of character to respond but in the final wash up the Sharks would prove too good, the home team prevailing 25-18 in an entertaining contest.
Young Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu gave the Sharks the best possible start when he outjumped his opposite number to touch down wide out for first points.
The second four pointer went to fullback Valentine Holmes in his first NSW Cup match, before halfback Penani Manumalealii would score a long range try for the Sharks and with Holmes kicking all three conversions the score was 18-0 and a big margin of victory seemed likely.
From there the though Bears lifted, managed a try of their own in limiting the damage before half time with the teams going to the break with the Sharks ahead 18-6.
The Bears edged a little closer early in the second half to make it 18-12, before the Sharks looked to have sealed the win with a fourth touchdown, this time to Melbourne prop Dean Britt after a Tim Robinson line break.
Holmes was again on target to make it 24-12, but there was still plenty of time on the clock and fight in the Bears, with their third try of the afternoon bringing them within six once more with still more than 10 minutes of the match remaining.
To their credit the Sharks dug in and defended grimly, before Manumalealii calmed potted a field goal to put his team seven in front in securing the win.
While coach Tony Herman wouldn’t have been thrilled his team allowed their opponents back into the match after their fast start he would have been satisfied to come away with the points after losing a number of key players prior to kickoff.
Due to the injury crisis affecting the NRL side and with NRL Peter Sharp taking no risks with players he may need to call on next weekend, Herman was without backline regulars Nathan Stapleton, Nathan Gardner and Jacob Gagan, while Storm players Mahe Fonua and Junior Moors were other withdrawals from the selected team.
In their place the Sharks called on Holmes at fullback, Dallas Wells on the wing and Jaden Clarke at five eighth, the trio all members of the Sharks NYC Under 20’s squad, with Melbourne youngster Vunivalu playing on the left wing.
All four acquitted themselves well in the Sharks win.
After starting the day in seventh position the NSW Cup Sharks consolidated their spot inside the top eight with the victory over the Bears who are the feeder club for the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Penani Manumalealii, Valentine Holmes, Dean Britt, Suliasi Vunivalu tries, Holmes 4 goals, Manumalealii field goal
North Sydney 18
Sharks NSW Cup team v Norths
20 Valentine Holmes
22 Dallas Wells
3 Travis Robinson
16 Josh Portlock
18 Suliasi Vunivalu
19 Jaden Clarke
7 Penani Manumalealii
8 Tim Robinson
6 Pat Politoni
25 Dayne Weston
11 Sione Masima
12 Junior Roqica
21 Tupou Sopoaga
13 Dean Britt
14 Michael Morris
15 Mark Mexico
9 Scott Sorensen
Photo - Sharks fullback Valentine Holmes
Pic courtesy of ourfootyteam.com