Port Macquarie Sharks coach David Geary was left wondering what his side needs to do to win the penalty count despite a 16-4 win over Wingham at Wauchope on Saturday.
The Sharks again fell foul of the Group 3 rugby league officials and had to defend for 10 minutes with 12 men after centre Dylan Adams was sin binned late in the first half.
Adams then turned from villain to hero when he raced 80 metres in the 73rd minute to extend the Sharks' 10-4 lead to 16-4 while fullback Mitch Wilbow and Tigers five-eighth Trent Grofos had a scuffle in back play.
Geary admitted the game was punctuated by stoppages which made for a less than ideal spectacle in wild and windy conditions.
"It was very stop-start because they kept on getting a thousand penalties so it's very hard to stay in a game like that, but I think that's what we did," Geary said.
"I say it every week ... we've got to learn to grind a game out and that's what we did.
"I don't think it's our poor discipline; you give away some stupid penalties all the time like every other team, but we're getting a fair few against us. It's not good."
Port Macquarie took a 4-0 lead to the sheds after centre Oli Nosworthy scored the only try of the first half.
Their task was made more difficult when five-eighth Cuban Piper left the field early in the second half due to a right ankle injury before winger Hayden Orley joined him on the sidelines soon after.
Tigers winger Liam Phillips crossed in the corner with 30 minutes to play, but that would be as good as it got for the visitors.
The Sharks goal-line defence was stoic although the Tigers attack was clunky.
"Our defence on line and our scramble together is one thing that makes me really pleased about this team," Geary said.
"We know how to defend when it matters in our own half and when we're coming off our own line, so I'm really happy about that."
There is little doubt Wingham lacked direction and polish at the end of their sets with halfback Mick Sullivan still on the Central Coast in lockdown.
Stand-in captain Mitch Collins admitted Sullivan's absence hurt their attack.
"Sully is our dominant half and he does a lot of the organising so not having him there meant it was always going to break down in areas, but we missed him a lot," he said.
"He's the most dominant half I've played with, but even though our attack was a bit clunky it was more a side thing where we went wrong."
Collins admitted the Tigers didn't utilise a howling south-westerly at their backs in the second half when the Sharks struggled to get over halfway.
Their inability to wrap the ball up cost them late in the tackle count on a number of occasions.
"When teams are rucking the ball out, our ability to stop the offload needs to be a lot better and we definitely need to work on our (attacking) execution," Collins said.
"That's where it broke down and we lacked points in the second half where we should have got them."
Prop Jackson Mullen and fullback Tim Bridge were arguably Wingham's best.
In the other games, the Sharks' ladies league tag returned to the winner's circle with a comfortable 18-0 win over the Tigers.
Molly Styles was a standout while Jordan Guest and Claire Thurlow were also strong.
Port Macquarie also claimed wins in the under-18s (12-10) and reserve grade (24-6) to round out a perfect day for the club.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: