Four straight for Panthers
SAWTELL has claimed its fourth straight win with a 30-26 victory against Port Macquarie at Hastings Regional Stadium.
It was a testing match for the Panthers who only just did enough despite having the upper hand over the Sharks.
With other results going its way, Port Macquarie live to fight another day in what has become a tough battle for fifth spot.
"Even though we lost the only word to describe our performance is gutsy," Sharks football manager Les Murphy said.
"We lost three of our best players to injury and were forced to play with only one reserve for over 47 minutes.
"It was a great effort but things just didn't go our way."
A three try effort to Sharks fullback Harley Gore had the home side in touching distance of a win for most of the match however a number of referee calls blew all their momentum when it mattered most.
"WE had two tries disallowed in very contentious circumstances," Murphy said.
"It really blew the wind out of the boys.
"Sawtell never looked in control of the match and I think had a few calls gone our way we would have won."
Port Macquarie must now take on Bellingen at Bellingen Park next week in a match which could all but decide which teams play football.
SAWTELL PANTHERS 30 (W Jarrett 2 D Quinn J Fogarty N English B Hart tries D Russell 3 goals) bt PORT MACQUARIE SHARKS 26 (H Gore 3 B Read B Green tries C Green 2 T Nelson goals)
Referee: Jason Townley
At Hastings Regional Stadium, Port Macquarie.
Reserve Grade: Sawtell bt Port Macquarie 48-18
Under 18's: Sawtell bt Port Macquarie 24-16