The Jersey Flegg Sharks have gone down by 10-4 in a dour round one encounter with the St George Illawarra Dragons.
In a game dominated by defence, combined with plenty of off-season rust with both teams their own worst enemies at times with errors and mistakes a feature, the Jersey Flegg Sharks have gone down by 10-4 to the Dragons.
Played in warm and humid conditions at the Collegians Sporting Complex in Wollongong, the Sharks fell behind early, bounced back with a first-half four-pointer but couldn't add to their total in a frustrating second half.
It was two competition points the Sharks might come to rue later in the season after dropping a game they had every opportunity to win.
A smart try to Dragons fullback Treigh Stewart opened the scoring in the 10th minute, before the Sharks posted their first and only points some 10 minutes later.
With nothing appearing to be on, centre Jensen Taumoepeau wrestled his arms free of the defence, slipping a pass to Jonaiah Lualua, with the winger doing an outstanding job to get the ball down inches from the touchline.
The sideline conversion was waved away and it was a Dragons penalty goal that would send the teams to the break with the Sharks down by four.
Both teams had numerous chances to add to their accounts in the second period, however the only points came from yet another penalty kick, making the score 10-4 Dragons, and as hard as the Sharks would try, they could get across the line.
For the Sharks much talked about prop Franklin Pele had a number of strong charges with ball in hand, however he will eagerly be awaiting the match review report after being placed on report for a shoulder charge during the second half.
Second-rower and captain Jack Boyling worked hard throughout, as did lock Tyler Slade in what was a disappointing start to the season for coach Daniel Holdsworth and his Flegg Sharks.
Jonaiah Lualua try