It wasn't pretty but the Matthews Cup Sharks banked a a valuable two competition points, while their SG Ball counterparts were left to rue one that got away in round five junior rep fixtures played at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.
The under 16 Sharks were at times their own worst enemies, squandering a 14-0 half time lead before holding on for a 16-12 victory over the Tigers, while in the SG Ball a late Balmain try saw the Sharks go down 18-14.
They were results which saw the Matthews boys consolidate their place towards the top of the competition table, while the under-18 Sharks need a strong finish over the final four weeks to ensure they will be a part of the Ball finals in just over a month’s time.
While at McCredie Park in Parramatta, the Tarsha Gale Sharks again showed glimpses of what they are capable of but slipped to a fifth consecutive defeat.
The Tarsha Gale Eels led by try at 10-6 at half time, before overpowering the Sharks in a 32-10 triumph.
The result was a frustrating one for the Sharks girls and for coach Colin Dodd, who expressed his pride in his teams first half defensive effort, but disappointment in the fact they couldn't go on with the job during the later stages of the contest.
The Tarsha Sharks now face an uphill battle in qualifying for the finals in a bid to defend the title they won in 2018, however the team will be determined to finish their season on a positive note.
In the Matthews Cup the Sharks were dominant in the opening half, tries to Chaz Jarvis, Te Wehi Waitere and Kobie Wilson, with one Liam Sutton conversion seeing them take a handy 14-0 advantage to the break.
However just when it seemed a case of by how many, the Sharks let down their guard and the Tigers responded, scoring in the opening moments of the second period to narrow the gap to 10.
A Sharks penalty goal pushed the lead back out to 12, however two more Tigers tries made for a frantic finish and if the Balmain kicker had been on target, the result might have been a different one, the Cronulla side escaping with a four-point win.
With the win the Matthews Cup Sharks sit in fourth position, two points behind joint competition leaders Souths and Newcastle, and they get their chance to push up the ladder when they host the Knights at Shark Park next Saturday.
In the final game of the day at Leichhardt, the Sharks scored first in the SG Ball clash, hooker Tom Demeio crossing the line then converting his own touchdown, in giving his team a 6-0 lead.
In a closely fought match Balmain levelled and when neither side was able to add further points the teams went to half time locked at 6-all.
With the two sides going blow for blow, the Sharks went ahead with a Billy Burke try and a Demeio conversion, before Balmain again locked it up.
Again the Sharks would go ahead, a Kyle Pickering penalty goal giving them a 14-12 lead with seven minutes remaining, however the Sharks couldn't hold on, the Tigers crossing for the match winner in the 68th minute to send the Cronulla boys home with nothing to show for their efforts.
It was a scrappy performance from the Sharks and one they will hope to improve on when they host the Knights next Saturday. That match is scheduled to get underway at 3.45pm.
The Ball Sharks sit in seventh, equal with three other teams and in a fight to remain in the top eight over the final four rounds.
The Tarsha Gale Sharks also play the Knights, with the matches kicking off at 12noon (Tarsha), 2.00pm (Matthews Cup) and 3.45pm (Ball).
Cronulla SHARKS 10
TRIES : Jaida White, Ella Barker
GOALS : Janelle Kennedy
Parramatta EELS 32
TRIES : Gardinia Faalogo, Breeze, Shondell Akhabue, Martha Fua, Gardinia Faalogo, Allison Futialo
GOALS : Shondell Akhabue 3, Allison Futialo
HAROLD MATTHEWS CUP
Cronulla SHARKS 16
TRIES : Chaz Jarvis, Te Wehi Waitere, Kobie Wilson
GOALS : Liam Sutton
P/GOAL : Liam Sutton
Balmain TIGERS 12
TRIES : Alexander Miltiadous, Ponipate Rakuli, Tafeuni Vea
PHOTO GALLERY - ourfootyteam.com
Harold Matthews Cup Rnd 5 - Balmain TIGERS v Cronulla SHARKS - CLICK HERE
Cronulla SHARKS 14
TRIES : Thomas DeMeio, Billy Burke
GOALS : Thomas DeMeio 2
P/GOALS : Kyle Pickering
Balmain TIGERS 18
TRIES : Henry O'Kane, Zayn Wilkins, Zane Camroux
GOALS : Zane Camroux 3
PHOTO GALLERY - Ourfootyteam.com
SG Ball Cup Rnd 5 - Balmain TIGERS v Cronulla SHARKS - CLICK HERE