STRONG: Michael Delore landed a conversion and penalty to help steer Southern Beaches to a 20-14 win over Wanderers.
COACH Johan Lourens couldn’t think of a better performance –or game – after Southern Beaches hung on for an emotional 20-14 triumph over Wanderers at Alan DavisField on Saturday and take a stranglehold of third place.
Beaches lift to hold out Wanderers in tense struggle TweetFacebook NHRU Round 15 actionPictures: Stewart Hazell and Michael HartshornBoth sides went at it from the get go in a fierce contest that ebbed and flowed.
After trailing 8-5 at half-time, Beaches found their groove to lead 20-9.
In the end, it took a desperate tackle by fullback Adrian Delore to nudge Wanderers breakaway Tom Eymael into touch just short of the tryline on the last play of the game to seal the win.
“It was one of the best games I have watched this year,” Lourens said. “It was an absolute slog. Neither team stopped.It was one of those games, I want to watch it again. It was that good.”
Beaches were without captain Va Talaileva (concussion) and experienced breakaway Marlon Solofuti (overseas) but the rest of the pack lifted.
“Forwards win games of rugby and our tight-five really stepped up,” Lourens said.
The win moved Beaches to 53 points, eight clear of fourth-placed Maitland, and they also received the Tony Wansey Sheild. Wansey, who has been an integral member at both clubs, suffered a stroke earlier this year and requires 24-hour medical assistance. As well as play for the shield, Beaches ran a series of fund raisers.
“Tony means a hell of a lot to the club,” Lourens said. “Thereis not a player in the club that Tony hasn’t affected in some way.”
Elsewhere, Lake Macquarie scored two converted tries in the final eight minutes to snatch a 37-all draw with leaders Hamilton at Walters Park.
After edging ahead 18-16 at half-time, the Hawks, fueled by a 10-1 penalty count,scored three tries to open a 37-16 advantage midway through the half.
But the Roos refused to lie down.Junior Osasa crashed over from close range and Ken Viliamu did likewise to close the gap to 37-30.
Then on the final play of the game, Roos fly-half Brendan Hollidayfloated a pass on the inside for Caileb Gerrard, who exploded through a hole and raced 20 metres to score besides the post.
However, the Roos slipped out of the top five on percentages after Merewether made it four straight wins with a 52-34 trashing over University at Townson Oval.
At Marcellin Park, Max Stafford and Pat Batey scored two tries each as Maitland disposed of Nelson Bay 45-15.
Chase Hicks scored a brace to help steer The Waratahs to an emphatic 52-22 win over Singleton at Waratah Oval and keep their finals hopes alive.
Pointscore: Hamilton 70, Wanderers 64, Southern Beaches 53, Maitland 45, Merewether 38, Lake Macquarie 38, Waratahs 35, Nelson Bay 28, University 23, Singleton 1
Premier 1: Lake Macquarie 37 (J Osasa, K Viliamu, D Alo, C Gerrard, K Lam tries; BHolliday 3 con, 3 pen) drew Hamilton Hawks 37 (Seva Rokobaro 2, Steve Sione 3, C Mulhearn 3 con, 2 pen)
Southern Beaches 20 (ADelore 2, JVaka tries; MDelore con,pen) def Wanderers 14 (D Rowney try, L Simmons 3 pen)
Merewether Carlton 52 (C Nash 2, JStrachan 2, TUini, THawes, JStewart, F Price tries; EBacigalupo 6 con) def University of Newcastle 34 (J Cooke 2, D Wells 2, ASerhan 2 tries; F Delli Carpini 2 con)
Maitland 45 (MStafford 2, PBatey 2, T Brooke, CMartin, JO’Toole tries; J Maloney 5 con) def Nelson Bay 15
The Waratahs 52 (C Hicks 2, T Taufaao, I Rokotolu, S Olive, S Bailey, C Manu, O Vosuqa tries; D Sherratt 5, J Ford con) def Singleton 22 (B Mason, NBrennan, RMason, DJordan tries; con HMeihana)