After impressive beginnings for both Sharks Junior rep teams it was always likely to be a more difficult assignment against the Panthers on their home patch and that's the way it turned out to be in matches played at the Windsor Sporting Complex on Saturday.
Opposed to the perennial competition heavyweights in the Panthers, both Sharks teams battled bravely but in the end run had just a draw and a loss to show for their efforts, with the Matthews Sharks finishing 28-all with the Penrith team, while the Under-18 SG Ball side suffered a 28-18 loss.
While the two teams would have left Sydney's western outskirts disappointed with the results, the Sharks, who are defending champions in both age groups, still sit near the top of the respective competition ladders and have plenty to look forward to in the weeks ahead.
In the Matthews Cup the young Sharks were on the back foot, going to the half time break behind by 18-10.
The signs however were good early in the second period, three unanswered Sharks tries taking them out to what should have been a commanding 28-18 advantage.
The home side fought back in the closing minutes, a late try seeing the teams locked at 28 and sharing one competition point each.
The Sharks scored six tries to five on the day but could only land two conversions, with goal kicking keeping the Panthers in the contest.
In the SG Ball it was a similar story, with the Sharks going to half time behind by 12 at 16-6.
Like their under-16 club mates the Sharks never gave away the challenge, matching the Panthers 12 points in the second period, but the damage had been done in the opening stanza, with the Penrith side making it three wins from as many starts with a 28-18 victory.
After three weeks on the road the Sharks now return to the familiar surroundings of Shark Park where they are set to host the Central Coast in round four matches.
Penrith 28 (H Bonanno, A Pittman-Lyon, S Blore, E Mokoia, B Middlebrooke tries; D White 4 goals) drew Cronulla 28 (Bronson Xerri 2, J Lualua, R Pickering, F Pele, K Broadhurst tries; Broadhurst 2 goals)
MATTHEWS CUP competition ladder - CLICK HERE
Penrith 28 (S O'Sullivan 2, J Tago, J Abbott, V Williams-Liolevave tries; O'Sullivan 3 goals) def Cronulla 18 (Isaac Lumelume, Jaemon Salmon, Luke Kisaloff tries; Kyle Flanagan 3 goals)
SG BALL competition ladder - CLICK HERE