First division rugby league returned to Port Stephens on Saturday after a three-year lapse with the Nelson Bay Sharks ladies tag team kicking off its season campaign against the might of Wests Rosellas.
Playing at home (Salamander sports complex), the Bay girls were not overawed by the occasion, putting in a strong first-up performance against the reigning Newcastle Rugby League premiers.
Down just 4-0 at halftime, the Sharks failed to find that elusive four-pointer allowing their more experienced opponents to run in three second half tries before going down 18-0.
Coach Blaine O'Flaherty said it was an impressive start to the 2019 season against strong opposition.
"I was very proud of the players who showed plenty of character. Wests are the premiers and have been playing at this level for four years, while we have been together for just six weeks," he said.
"We had good support from the Nelson Bay junior club and the rugby league community as a whole. There were good signs that they can develop into a competitive force as the season moves forward."
Some of the more outstanding performances for the Sharks came from Emma Cram and Michelle Sproule who worked hard all game.
Brie Carter did some great tagging and player's player went to Raegan McIllwaine.
The girls will have a week's break over Easter and return to the fold in an away match on Saturday, April 27, against Maitland.