Shaw Cross Sharks made a winning start to the new NCL Division 1 season with an 18-12 victory at Ince Rose Bridge.
The Sharks were trailing at half-time, but two quick-fire tries in the second half were enough to secure an impressive win.
Head Coach Zach Johnson said the team weren’t at their best but was delighted to get the win.
“I think it’s been five years since we won an opening day fixture and it’s a long time since we won one in Division 1, so in terms of getting a result I’m really happy with it.
“I think the skill and execution was a little off, there were too many errors and too many penalties given away, so I think the execution needs to tighten up if we’re to compete.
“But in terms of heart, desire and fight, I couldn’t complement the lads enough. We defended our line for long periods and the defence was good.”
Sharks started the game well and got the first try inside ten minutes, as Ross Roebuck shimmied and sped past the defender for the line, with the conversion from Shaun Squires putting them 6-0 up.
However, Ince grew into the game and were level after Matthew Meadon managed to find a gap in the defence, with Brad Smith adding the extras.
Smith then found the posts with a penalty shortly before half-time, giving the home side a two-point lead going into the break.
The second half started slowly but the match turned ten minutes in when, as Ince looked to attack the Sharks line, Squires intercepted a pass and ran the length of the field to score, before adding the two as well.
And just a couple of minutes later they had another try to celebrate, as Roebuck smartly found a gap for his second. A third successful Squires kick brought the lead to ten points and Sharks were in control of the game.
Ince's Johnny Brown and Sharks' Paul March were both shown yellow cards after clashes and while both sides were down to 12 the hosts got a try back, as Oliver Murry crossed to bring the gap down to six points.
Ince threw everything at the visitors in search of another try but the Sharks defence was resolute and they managed to see out the final 15 minutes for a big opening victory.
Updated 14:42 - 12 Mar 2018 by Stephen Ibbetson