A Pat Politoni try in the dying moments has sealed a 17-4 win for the Sharks in their opening game of the 2015 NRL Nines.
Politoni dived between a couple of tired defenders for the bonus point try in a match the Sharks seemingly had in control for the majority of the game but couldn’t quite finish off their opposition until the18th minute touchdown.
Controlling the ball and field position the Sharks opened their account three minutes in when Fa’amanu Brown sliced through and with the drop goal attempt at conversion swinging wide the Cronulla side led 4-0.
After staving off a couple of Bulldog attacking raids the Sharks were in again when Nathan Gardner showed good strength to crash over in the south-eastern corner of Eden Park.
Gardner slotted the sideline conversion to give the Sharks a commanding 10-0.
The Bulldogs appeared likely to post their first points on the stroke of half time but some defensive heroics from Valentine Holmes, the youngster bringing down his opponent just metres from the line with only seconds remaining in the first half, confirmed the Sharks 10 point advantage at the break.
The Bulldogs would be first to score in the second stanza, outside back Levi Dodd running 50 metres after intercepting a Sharks pass, but that would be the only time they would trouble the scorers, with the Politoni try on the fulltime siren completing the scoring.
The Sharks now move on to play the Broncos in their second round robin match, kicking off at 7.30pm (NZ Time).
Brown, Gardner, Politoni (bonus point) tries, Gardner, Holmes conversions
Sharks Team list – Round 1 9’s V Bulldogs
1 Valentine Holmes
2 Sosaia Feki
3 Gerard Beale
4 Ricky Leutele
6 Fa’amanu Brown
7 Kyle Stanley
11 Wade Graham
12 Matt Prior
13 Chris Heighington
5 Jack Bird
9 Pat Politoni
10 Tinirau Arona
15 Blake Ayshford
15 Nathan Gardner