The odds were firmly stacked against the Auckland Vulcans heading into their match against the Cronulla Sharks at Mt Smart Stadium, but it counted for little as they out-muscled the ladder leaders to win 18-16.
Auckland came into the match with four players making their VB NSW Cup debuts and lost a huge amount of experience during the week with the likes of Bill Tupou, Suaia Matagi, Pita Godinet and Agnatius Paasi unavailable for the Vulcans.
A mistake by debutante winger David Fusitua gave Cronulla a set in attacking position, which they made full use of with Pat Politoni racing away under the posts.
A short time later the Sharks were in again, this time a swift right hand shift seeing Stewart Mills cross out wide to make it 10-0.
The Vulcans produced some nice play down the right flank with a classy offload leading to a Steve Waetford try which centre Siosiua Taukeiaho converted to make it 10-6.
Three consecutive sets on their own try line had the Vulcans exhausted with only minutes remaining in the first half, before Ngani Laumape picked up a loose ball and ran 80 meters to dot down, with the conversion giving Auckland an unlikely lead heading into the break.
The first 20 minutes of the second half saw the two forward packs go head to head in a battle for yardage and despite having their share of chances the Vulcans were unable to convert it into points.
The Sharks produced the first points of the half with Kirisome Auva’a scoring out wide to re-assume the lead at 16-12.
The Vulcans were held up over the line several times as they desperately pushed to retake the lead and in the end it was Tangi Ropati who broke the visitors down.
After Alehana Mara had come up short on a dummy half dart, Ropati scooped up the Steeden and dotted down.
With the game tied and minutes remaining Laumape was given the unenviable task of trying to add the extras, after first choice kicker Taukeiaho had sustained an ankle injury, but he didn't disappoint putting it over the black dot to give his side a two point advantage.
The last few minutes were nail-biting with the Sharks throwing everything they had at their opposition.
After a big break down field the Sharks created a three on one and looked certain to score but a miracle tackle from fullback Tangi Ropati saved a possible match winning try.
With ball in hand the Vulcans worked the clock down and became the first team to beat the Cronulla Sharks all year.
The win holds extra importance for Auckland who now have a long break due to a bye and the VB NSW Cup Representative round while the Cronulla Sharks will face the Windsor Wolves at Henson Park.
Auckland Vulcans 18 (T Ropati, S Waetford, N Laumape tries; S Taukeiaho 2, N Laumape goals) def. Cronulla Sharks 16 (S Mills, P Politoni, K Auvaa tries; C Townsend 2 goals) at Mt Smart Stadium.
Click here to see the VB NSW Cup Ladder after Round 16
Click here to see the other results from Round 16 of the VB NSW Cup