A try to their opponents as the full time siren was sounding has seen the Sharks finish in a 28-all draw with the Illawarra Steelers in their round six Matthews Cup clash.
The match-levelling try was awarded after an unfortunate referring decision in the lead up, the Steelers allowed to play on after an obvious knock on, the result putting the Sharks under enormous pressure over the closing three rounds should they hope to qualify for the competition finals.
However as crucial as the late decision may have been, the young Sharks only had themselves to blame, squandering a 28-12 half time advantage in a match they seemingly had well in control.
A line break from skipper Siteni Taukomo saw Lachlan Crossle register first points for the Sharks, with the Steelers responding soon after and inside the opening 10 minutes the scores were level at 6-apiece.
Following a repeat set, centre Noah Pentani would score the first of his two tries on the day, but again their opponents would bounce back, a crash over try adjacent to the posts tying the scores up at 12-12.
Pentani showed his strength to touch down for his second, in almost the same spot as his first, before a Chevy Stewart line break saw Taukomo back up to score and it was all Sharks at 22-12.
Capping off a dominant first half hooker Taj Brailey’s grubber from close to the line rebounded into the hands of back rower Lawson Cotter for him to dive over, giving the Sharks a match-winning lead at 28-12 at the half time break.
Turning around and running into the northerly breeze the going become a little tougher for the Sharks in the second stanza, the Cronulla side gifting the Steelers an early try with a first tackle error early in the half. From the next set a fortuitous bounce from an Illawarra kick saw them cross again, the second of the two conversions successful in seeing the lead narrow to 28-22 with still 17 minutes of the match remaining.
The Sharks looked to have weathered the storm and were on track to register a win, before the 70th minute try and subsequent conversion which saw the two teams share the points.
Now sitting eighth, with games against three tough opponents over the final rounds of the competition to come, the Matthews Cup Sharks need a strong finish to their season should they hope to qualify for the six-team Finals series.
The next assignment for the Sharks is a game against the third-placed Parramatta Eels in a round seven match at PointBet Stadium next week.
Noah Pentani 2, Siteni Taukamo, Lachlan Crossle, Lawson Cotter tries, Dylan Christensen 4 goals