The Jersey Flegg Sharks have continued kept their finals chances will and truly alive with a narrow 26-24 victory over the Bulldogs on a wet Belmore Sports Ground.
The Sharks went to half time up by 12-6, built a comfortable advantage in the period, before holding on to claim the competition points to sit fourth on the Jersey Flegg ladder.
After a loss to the Panthers, then a break for the representative round, the win was something of a relief for the young Sharks and their coach George Ndaira.
"It's good to be back in the winner's circle after a week off," Ndaira said. "There was plenty of effort and I thought the scoreboard didn't quite reflect how well we played in the end. But I'm happy considering the conditions and a couple of late changes to the team."
One of those late changes was front rower Lachlan Crouch, the 2022 SG Ball Player of the Year putting in a solid in his first game in the under-21's.
It was the Bulldogs scoring first, with the Sharks forced to defend their line to keep the margin to just six, however a Jordan Samrani try, then a second four-pointer, this time to hard-working lock Blake Hosking and following two Ryan Rivett conversions it was 12-6 Sharks at the break.
The Bulldogs leveled just 10 minutes after half time, before the Sharks would break the game open with three tries in the space of 10 minutes to push their advantage out to 26-12.
From there two converted tries to their opponents made for a tense final minute, but it would be the Sharks to hold on an claim a valuable win and remain in the hunt for one of the five finals berths.
For the Sharks hooker Sam Healey was voted Player's Player, with the coach praising the number nine's over all effort.
"I thought defensively he led our line really well with his line speed and on the kick chase, then on flip side with the ball, really put some pressure on their big fellas around the middle of the ruck," Ndaira said.
The Flegg Sharks are in action next Thursday night when the play the Victorian Thunderbolts in the curtain-raiser to the Sharks v Storm NRL clash.