There often aren't a lot of points scored in Group 3 rugby league local derby clashes in Port Macquarie.
It again proved the case on Sunday as the Sharks held off a gallant Port City Breakers 12-10 to consolidate second position on the ladder.
Interchange forward Koby Smith's 66th-minute try proved to be the matchwinner in a dour contest dominated by defence.
The Sharks are quickly becoming the kings of momentous occasion matches in 2021 after they claimed the Bob Harrison memorial trophy in the process.
They have won two and drawn one of their three memorial matches this season following a 34-20 win over Old Bar in round one and a 28-all draw with Wauchope in round two.
The two-point win on Sunday has opened up a three-point gap on Old Bar who occupy third spot after the Pirates went down 28-18 to Wauchope on Saturday.
Sharks coach David Geary was extremely pleased with the way his side performed without the ball after they handed the Breakers numerous opportunities throughout the match.
"I think our defence can be better, but we have been leaking points and to only leak 10 in that grindy sort of win was pleasing."Port Sharks coach David Geary
"I think our defence can be better, but we have been leaking points and to only leak 10 in that grindy sort of win was pleasing," he said.
"Our attack has been better, but our defence was pretty hit and miss a fair bit, but defending our line we were pretty good with a lot of sliding defence and rushing to help out other players."
Front-rower Matt Jones played 80 minutes and again impressed along with hooker and co-coach James Kelly.
"For a front-rower to play 80 minutes, I think he keeps improving and surprising everyone with how good he's going," Geary said.
"You can't get better than that."
Breakers coach Dan Kemp was left to lament another match that got away where his side only had themselves to blame.
They have lost two of their four games by two points or less and led 10-6 in the 48th minute when winger Nick Smith finished off a clever interchange of passing down the short side which started with hooker Joss Cleal.
Following Smith's try, numerous other opportunities presented themselves for 15 minutes after they hit the front and were camped inside the Sharks half.
"They make it incredibly hard for themselves and you walk off saying the fundamental reason for getting beat was our discipline."Port City Breakers coach Dan Kemp
But they couldn't convert.
"We had our shots; there was a time where we had the ascendancy at 10-6 and were on top and had a lot of raids at their line, but (we) lacked polish," Kemp said.
"Good on (the Sharks); they were putting a lot of pressure on us in D, pressuring our halves to make quick decisions and they got it wrong."
The Breakers' discipline again proved problematic.
"We're a broken record with that; we lose the possession and the penalty count every single week ... you can bet on it that we will," the coach said.
"They make it incredibly hard for themselves and you walk off saying the fundamental reason for getting beat was our discipline.
"I don't mind getting beat when the other mob's better than you, you can cop that. That's not to say they weren't ... they beat us ... but I think we had a fair imprint on why we got beat today."
Second-rower Jesse Douglass was the Breakers best along with second-row partner Ryan Maloney while winger Conrad Lardner was strong in the first half.
The match ended with both teams reduced to 12 men after Breakers halfback Jake McNamara was sent to the sinbin following a push and shove, while Sharks centre Dylan Adams was sent off for an alleged headbutt.
First grade: Port Macquarie Sharks 12 (Oli Nosworthy, Koby Smith tries; Hayden Orley two goals) Port City Breakers 10 (Jesse Douglass, Nick Smith tries; Cody Robbins one goal)
Reserve grade: Port Macquarie Sharks 40 defeated Port City Breakers 18
Under-18s: Port Macquarie Sharks 42 defeated Camden Haven Eagles 0
Ladies league tag: Port Macquarie Sharks 66 defeated Camden Haven Eagles 0
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