PORT Macquarie Sharks kept their place at the top of the Group 3 rugby league table intact after a good win over the previously undefeated Forster Tuncurry Hawks on Saturday.
The Sharks jumped out to a good lead by the break and held on through a second-half struggle to triumph 22-10 at Regional Stadium.
While they were strong in attack, the league leaders muscled up in defence too, especially in the second half.
Joey Cudmore, Zac Alyward, captain-coach Matt Shipway, Tyrone Nelson and James Kelly scored for the Sharks in a clinical display.
Dave Geary kicked one goal.
Cudmore opened the scoring with a charge down, and by the break it was 18-0 and the Sharks were flying.
Sharks president and the side's former coach Phil Trembath was pleased with the try scoring, but he was also impressed with the Sharks' defence.
"Our defence was fairly brutal," he said.
"We defended well. Forster had no answer."
Meanwhile, at the other end of the park, the Sharks took advantage with the ball in their hands.
"We made the most of our opportunities," Trembath said.
The return of forward Michael Bright bolstered the hosts in attack and defence.
He's come back from playing in Boston, USA with Shipway, and Trembath welcomed Bright back into the fold.
"There's no beg-your-pardons with Michael," Trembath said.
"You know what you get with him. He's won quite a few best and fairests."
The scoring slowed down in the second half as the Hawks aimed up in defence.
Trembath said the second 40 was a "dour struggle", but he was pleased with the Sharks' efforts.
"You can't complain," he said.
"We can't do any more than be on the top of the table."
The Sharks' reserve grade team is also on the top of the ladder in good days for the club. A fresh reserves bench also helps the cause.
"We've got good numbers in the club at the moment," Trembath said.
The team will travel to Wingham next weekend to take on the Tigers.
More rugby league: Wednesday's Port News