The Matthews Cup Sharks had surrendered an early 14-point lead in going down by 24-20 to a determined North Sydney Bears side.
Seemingly in control for much of the first half, a North Sydney try just before the break gave their opponents all the encouragement they needed, with the visitors showing superior composure to the Sharks in securing the win.
The result was a disappointing one for a Sharks team coming off a round one win and week two bye, especially considering their first half dominance.
After turning away the Bears at the northern end of PointsBet Stadium, the Sharks mounted some pressure of their own and despite their opponents showing good defensive resolve the home team would score first, Koby Douglas crashing through to give his side an early lead.
Fullback and skipper Siteni Taukomo added the extra and the Sharks led 6-0.
That six point lead turned into 10 when young winger Chevy Stewart scored an acrobatic try in the corner following a clever exchange of passes and the Sharks had opened up a handy advantage.
As smart kick from halfback Max Demeio was pounced on by winger Osca Catton soon after and despite the conversion again being wide of the mark, at 14-0 the Sharks were appearing to be in command.
The Bears however had other ideas and following a sixth tackle penalty would open their account right on the half time siren, with the successful conversion sending the teams to the break with the Sharks ahead 14-6.
Encouraged by their strong finish to the first half the Bears closed the gap, crashing over close to the post and after the extra two points were added it was 14-12.
The Sharks pushed the lead back out with a second Catton try, the winger doing an excellent job to get the ball down despite the attention of a Bears defender, with the Dylan Christensen conversion from a wide angle making it 20-12 Sharks.
Despite the setback the Bears however were far from done, a long range try bringing them to within two points again, before a try wide out, converted from touch with less than five minutes remaining putting the visitors in front at 24-20.
A lack of composure in attacking positions let the Sharks down on a couple of occasions in the final moments as the Bears held on to record their first victory of the 2021 season.
Osca Catton 2, Chevy Stewart, Koby Douglas tries, Siteni Taukomo, Dylan Christensen goals
Lead photo - courtesy Steve Montgomery - ourfootyteam.com