In a match dominated by attack and which leaves the coaches of both teams with some defensive issues to address, the NYC Sharks have gone down by a point to the Wests Tigers in their trial match at Campbelltown Stadium.
With the two teams level at 34-all and with time running out a wobbly field goal from the Wests Tigers half back has given them the one point 35-34 win.
In a contest which saw the Sharks jump out to 14-point lead with half time approaching , only to concede three tries in a five-minute period, neither side was able to dominate as they traded four-pointers throughout.
In the end it was the Tigers who did enough to register a win, with both sides needing to tighten up some aspects of their play before the start of the season proper in two weeks’ time.
The Sharks were first on the board when a clever exchange of passing saw Semisi Vea streak away to score wide out, before big front rower Tepatasi Fuivalili crashed over from close range for his teams’ second.
Both tries were converted by Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga and the Sharks had a 12-0 lead midway through the first half.
The Tigers struck back with a try in the south-eastern corner of Campbelltown Stadium to make it 12-4, before Jayden Brailey added to the Sharks lead with a smart try from dummy half a few minutes later.
The conversion from in front made it 18-4 as the Sharks had built up a handy advantage.
A Tigers penalty enabled them to go on the attack and some ordinary goal-defense saw the Sharks concede a try, before a penalty from the kick off had the Cronulla side on the back foot once more and again the home team capitalized.
This time the try came adjacent to the uprights and with just seconds left in the half the Tigers were in once more, this time catching the Sharks short on their defensive left for the winger to cross.
Two successful conversions following the first two tries made it 18-16 Sharks as their handy lead had evaporated, with the last four-pointer putting the Tigers on top 20-18 at the break.
In the early moments of the second half the Sharks conceded another soft try from close range, before a Rhys Davies touchdown eight minutes into the period, converted by Aufaga-Toomaga made it 26-24 to the Tigers with half an hour still remaining.
The Tigers made it 30-24 with a try in the 60th minute but the Sharks again responded, this time replacement hooker Jenan Parish diving over from dummy half.
Aufuga-Toomaga added the extras and it was 30-points all with 14 minutes of the trial to go.
Some weak defense on the Sharks left hand edge saw the Tigers go to the front but another Sharks try, this time to Aufaga-Toomaga leveled the scores at 34-apiece.
Aufaga-Toomaga narrowly missed the shot at goal to put his team ahead in what would prove a costly miss, when with less than two minutes on the clock the Tigers would slot the winning field goal.
Sharks NYC coach John Morris will now have two weeks to get the Sharks ready for their first round match which is against the North Queensland Cowboys up in Townsville.
Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga, Semsi Vea, Rhys Davies, Tepa Fuivailili, Jayden Brailey, Jenan Parish tries, Aufaga-Toomaga 5 goals
WESTS TIGERS 35