In front of a packed crowd of Kiwi supporters in the regional town of Gisborne a late try has seen the Warriors escape with a 16-12 win over a gritty Sharks side in their NSW Cup clash.
After clinging to a narrow lead for most of the contest, a penalty goal tied the scores up before the Sharks gave up a 76th minute Warriors try which sealed the result.
The Sharks had one last shot when a Jaden Clarke 40-20 put them in strong field position with the last set of six for the match but the New Zealanders held firm as time ran out on the Sharks challenge.
As they have done in recent matches the Sharks began very strongly, tries to Nathan Stapleton and Jacob Gagan giving them the lead, but some poor ball control and the lack of experience in the Sharks line up eventually told.
The Sharks did however have a number of standout players on the day, with lock Tim Robinson earning plenty of praise for his efforts, while Stapleton also caused plenty of headaches for the opposition with a solid game on the wing and then at fullback.
And in a promising pointer for the future, new NYC hooker Brad Deitz acquitted himself well in his first match in the NSW Cup competition. Fellow NYC squad members in five eighth Clarke and fullback Valentine Holmes also held their own in the senior company, with Holmes playing strongly before an injury concern forced a move from fullback onto the wing during the second half.
Holmes was said to have pulled up fine after the game.
The match was being hailed as an enormous success for the coastal town of Gisborne, a province more known for its Rugby Union ties, with a near-capacity crowd turning out to support the two teams.
In showing their appreciation for the backing given by the locals the Sharks stayed on after the match for a considerable period, signing autographs and posing for photographs for those in attendance.
With the loss to the Warriors the Sharks cling to seventh position on the NSW Cup table but with the four teams immediately behind them on the ladder now within two points, the chasing pack is narrowing the gap with the Sharks needing a couple of wins over the next few weeks to consolidate their place inside the top eight.
The next match for the NSW Cup Sharks is against the Manly Sea Eagles at Remondis Stadium this Saturday. The match will be a part of a three-game roster and is scheduled to kick off at 5.15pm.
Nathan Stapleton, Jacob Gagan tries, Stapleton 2 goals
T Lolohea, D Peyroux, N Hukutai tries, T Lolohea 2 goals
Sharks NSW Cup team list v Warriors
5 Valentine Holmes
2 Jacob Gagan
3 Josh Portlock
12 Junior Roqica
4 Nathan Stapleton
6 Jaden Clarke
7 Penani Manumalealii
8 Matt Prior
9 Pat Politoni
26 George Rose
11 Sione Masima
13 Tupou Sopoaga
10 Tim Robinson
14 Brad Deitz
15 Dean Britt
16 Michael Morris
17 Scott Sorensen