The Shellharbour Sharks have booked themselves in the Group 7 Rugby League preliminary final after a 38-22 win over Nowra-Bomaderry at Ron Costello Oval on Saturday.

After finishing the regular season in third place, the Sharks bounced back from a 24-10 qualifying final loss to Gerringong, running in seven tries to four to end the Jets’ promising campaign in the second week of the finals.

Shellharbour Coach Abed Atallah said he was impressed with his side’s “good performance” in the win, built around hard work.

“We worked really hard early in the game, which helped set up the result in the second half,” he said.

“I think it was nil all after about 15 or 20 minutes, so it was a really good battle.

“We were fortunate enough to get some back-to-back tries and end up with a 20-point lead just after halftime.”

Atallah said his side’s defence was the key to the victory, which stood up when tested by the Jets’ attack throughout the match.

“They’re a strong team across the park,” he said.

“We just had not to allow them to get as [many] good opportunities and defend well when they did.

“They’re a team that can score from nothing, and they still managed to score a couple of nice tries.”

Heading into next week’s ‘Shellharbour Showdown’ with Stingrays, the Sharks coach said his side is “confident” that they can win and gain a grand final berth.

“We’re a very confident team; we know that if we play to our best, a favourable result will head our way,” Atallah said.

“Stingrays are a tough team; they’ve got a big pack, they’ve got a big team across the whole field.

“So again, defensively, we’re gonna have to be very good.”

A huge crowd is anticipated for the Sharks-Stingrays match, with cars banned from entering the ground on the weekend to ensure the venue’s maximum capacity is available.

Group 7 Commercial and Operations Manager Ashton Sims said that the league’s management is pleased with the highly competitive nature of this year’s postseason and the attendances reflecting this.

“We’re really happy with how things are panning out in our finals series,” he said.

“Throughout the whole finals, it’s been evident that the Group 7 Rugby League competition is one of the strongest it’s been in a long time.

“The competition is still wide open across all six grades, including the Ladies League Tag into the Men’s tackle competitions.”

Meanwhile, in the major semi-final on Sunday, Gerringong booked their place in the grand final day with a 32-22 win over minor premiers Stingrays.

The Lions will now enjoy a week off to prepare for the decider whilst their potential opponents battle it out for the remaining spot on Saturday at Cec Glenholmes Oval Warilla.

Audio: Group 7 Rugby League Operations Manager Ashton Sims gives his assessment on the finals series and the season overall ahead of the Preliminary Final between the Shellharbour Sharks and Stingrays.