Southern Districts suffered a see-sawing 46-37 loss to reigning premiers North Sydney on Friday.
Souths traveled to North Sydney Oval with a win and a loss to open their Shute Shield season. While the Rebels started well, a string of errors gifted the hosts possession and field position, allowing Norths to build a 26-8 lead midway through the second half.
But a brave Souths fightback saw them snatch a 37-36 lead with five minutes remaining, only for Norths to lift again to seal the result.
Souths host Gordon in their round four Shute Shield clash at Forshaw Rugby Park, Sylvania Waters on Saturday.