OLD Bar climbed off the bottom of the Group 3 rugby league ladder as Port Macquarie slipped out of the top five following the Pirates' 26-24 victory in Port Macquarie on Sunday.
Pirates fullback Joel Minihan put his side in front for good in the 77th minute when he swooped on Sharks winger Hayden Stuart's error from a bomb to score in the corner.
It was the seventh and final time the lead changed hands in a match that never reached any great heights.
After Taree City's defeat to Forster-Tuncurry, Pirates captain-coach Shannon Ellem was more than happy to offload the dreaded wooden spoon.
"It's awesome to pass that dreaded wooden spoon onto someone else so Taree can have it for all I care," he said.
Old Bar extended their winning streak to three following wins over Taree City and Wauchope and Ellem said it had come following a bit of soul-searching a month ago.
"We had a meeting as a club two or three weeks ago to identify what we want to do from here on in," he said.
"We're going to build for next year now. We're going to make one or two good signings and keep the side we've got because it's a really good side as shown the last few weeks."
Second rower Carlos Kohu-Martin was a constant handful on the left edge although Ellem was most impressed with lock forward Corey Sheehan, fullback Minihan and winger Joe Hinton.
"Corey moved from the back row into the lock position and went for 80 minutes and was awesome for us," he said.
Disappointed Sharks coach Ben Kirkland lamented a poor attitude where his side were "out-enthused".
"They're one of the toughest packs in the comp and we couldn't go with them early," he said.
"We fought and fought and scrapped to get ourselves in the game but (there were) vital points of the game we lost.
"If we're fair dinkum about the finals we've got to be beating sides below us."
The Sharks now face an uphill task of climbing back into finals contention with matches against third-placed Wauchope, fifth-placed Forster-Tuncurry and second-placed Wingham still to come.
"The result has put us under pressure now; we've got to go and win games," Kirkland said.
"It's taken equations out of it. That could be a good thing too, there's no pressure on us. We've got to play and turn up and still scrape in."
Mitch Wilbow's two-try return from suspension was a shining light for the Sharks as was the performance of centre Oli Nosworthy who also scored two tries.
"Our young guys keep getting better and better," the coach said.
"Oli Nosworthy scored another couple and it's good to have Mitchy Wilbow back and firing.
"But we don't have the calibre of player for anyone to be clocking off. The whole 13 has to be switched on and firing otherwise you can't afford to have blokes missing tasks especially in the middle of the field."
Ben Read suffered a calf tear and Scott Grant suffered concussion in the first half and didn't return, but Kirkland said his side weren't good enough.
"That's not an excuse," he said.
"Losing Scotty is a big one; he's the heart and soul of the pack and leads us forward, but we'll have the week off lick our wounds.
"Big derby against Wauchope in a couple of weeks."
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