With a backs-to-the-wall performance, the Sharks have ground out a gutsy 20-18 victory over Melbourne Storm.
Fielding a side short on experience but high on enthusiasm, the Sharks held firm when challenged in the first half, before tries either side of half time propelled them to the win.
All week John Morris has preferred to talk about the players who were taking the field, it shouldn't be dismissed when discussing those who weren’t, and with the likes of Shaun Johnson, Matt Moylan, Wade Graham and Aaron Woods sitting on the sidelines it was one of the club’s more memorable triumphs.
The Sharks were first on the board when a backline shift saw Josh Morris put Sione Katoa into space on the eastern side and when Kyle Flanagan added the extra two it was 6-0 Sharks after the opening seven minutes.
A Storm penalty would put them into an attacking position and it was the visitors who caught the Sharks short on their left, Josh Addo-Carr enjoying an unimpeded 20-metre dash to the try line.
The conversion attempt bounced off the right hand upright and it was 6-4 Sharks.
The scores were 6-all when the Sharks were penalised for failing to take a drop out inside the allotted time, Cameron Smith slotting the easy kick at goal, before a Cronulla error gifted their opponents field position and they would pay the ultimate price, Jesse Bromwich crashing over from close range.
The Smith conversion was successful and it was 12-6 Storm on top and with 17 minutes still to go in the first period.
The Sharks were forced to weather the Storm, so to speak, with their opponents forcing three line drop outs, however a Melbourne error let them off the hook and the Sharks capitalised.
After Flanagan had engineered a repeat set with a clever grubber, the Sharks number six was in the action again soon after, digging into the line before putting in a perfectly weighted kick for Briton Nikora to score.
Flanagan converted and with under five minutes of the first half remaining it was 12-all, a score the two teams took to the break.
The Sharks began fast in the second half, camping in Storm territory in the opening 10 minutes and when Flanagan kicked a penalty goal after a escorting infringement, they would take their first lead at 14-12.
Now with confidence and momentum the Sharks went back on the attack, pressing the Melbourne try line and it was Braden Hamlin-Uele, rumbling through the opposition defence before planting the ball down for what was his first four-pointer in the NRL.
Flanagan was on target with the kick at goal, giving the Sharks an eight-point advantage at 20-12 in front.
The Storm scored late through interchange utility Ryan Papenhuyzen, Smith converting to bring the visitors within two, but the Sharks managed to hold firm over the final three minutes to register a character-building win.
The Sharks had a number of outstanding performers, Kurt Capewell taking away the Channel 9 man-of-the-match, Uele having an impact as he continues to improve the more NRL game time he plays, with Chad Townsend and Flanagan controlling proceedings well in the halves.
After a few anxious moments in the first half, Josh Dugan was strong at fullback and young back rower Nikora continues to impress.
The Sharks now have a short week before heading to Brisbane to play the Gold Coast in the first game of Magic Round on Thursday night.
Sione Katoa, Briton Nikora, Braden Hamlin-Uele tries, Kyle Flanagan 4 goals
Jesse Bromwich, Josh Addo-Carr tries, Cameron Smith 2 goals