Showing good composure under pressure the NYC Sharks have battled back from a half time deficit to beat the Melbourne Storm 28-20 in an entertaining under-20’s match at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
With Melbourne fielding a full-strength outfit the Sharks had to fight hard to earn the points, two late tries seeing them hold off the Storm and remain on top of the Holden Cup ladder.
The match began well for the Sharks, Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga winning the race to a Jack Williams grubber and it was 4-0 to the home side just seven minutes in.
Kyle Flanagan added the extras and it was 6-0 to the Sharks.
Melbourne then responded with two tries in quick succession, the first down their left hand side, the second when Brodie Croft weaved his way through on the right and with one successful conversion from the two attempts it was 10-6 Storm.
On the back of some ill-discipline from Melbourne the Sharks worked their way back into an attacking field position and soon after were able to strike back.
On the last tackle, preferring to run the ball rather than kick, back rower Tony Matautia made a half break, off loaded to his supports and it was Flanagan to finish off the move, planting the ball down 15 metres to the left of the posts.
Flanagan converted his own try and it was 12-10 Sharks, a score that would remain the same at half time.
The Sharks began strongly and extended that lead when Matautia scored a strong try with a determined 15-metre run and when Flanagan was successful with the conversion the young Cronulla side was up 18-10.
In a high quality contest the Storm again fought back, fullback Scott Drinkwater crossed for his second of the night and not long after he made it three as Melbourne went back in front at 20-18 with still 25 minutes left on the clock.
In another momentum shift a penalty against the Storm while in possession gifted the ball back to the Sharks and they made their opponents pay, Billy Magoulias carrying four Melbourne defenders over the line to put his team back in front.
Flanagan was again on target and it was 24-20 with 14 minutes remaining.
The Storm threw plenty at them in next 10 minutes however the Sharks held firm, before a clever Blayke Brailey pass and a barnstorming run from Briton Nikora would confirm the result.
Flanagan narrowly missed for the first time all night however the 28-20 win and the two points kept Cronulla Holden Cup boys in first spot on the NYC ladder.
Kyle Flanagan, Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga, Tony Matautia , Billy Magoulias, Briton Nikora tries, Flanagan 4 goals
Scott Drinkwater 3, Brodie Croft tries, Drinkwater 2 goals