RELIEVED Wanderers coach Viv Paasi praised the Two Blues for finding a way to win after they came from behind to beat Maitland 23-20 at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday.
Captain Luke Simmons landed a late penalty to snatch the win after the home side had trailed 20-13 midway through the second half.
Dillon Rowney, one of two former Blacks, was the hero with a brace of tries, including a superb solo effort.
But in the end, it was the Wanderers defence that won the day.
The Blacks were camped in the Two Blues quarter late, giving up two chances to kick game-leveling penaltie, but the home side held strong.
“It was a gutsy effort,” Paasi said. “Maitland are a good side and probably deserved to get something out of it, but we found a way to win. It was the first time we have come from behind in the second half this season to win. Dillon Rowney was good and Josh McCormack, playing against his old club for the first time, was class. In the forwards, Tomy Eymael and Nick Brady were strong.”
At Passmore Oval, Hamilton had two players sent off but had enough in the tank to hold out Merewether 36-27 and remain unbeaten at the top of the ladder.
Replacement Laufiso Vaisegote and centre Sunni Halanukonuka were given red cards for the Hawks and Merewether centre Kieran Danovaro was also sent. Vaisegote was given his marching orders for a coat-hanger tackle on Matt Hays. That hit sparked a brawl. Halanukonuka and Danovaro were ruled to have sparked the fight. Referee Brandan Farrar dished out seven yellow cards and three red cards in total.
Hamilton led 17-15 at half-time and had to work overtime to beat a plucky Greens.
Willie Fraser and Warren Wilson scored two tries each as Lake Macquarie edged out Nelson Bay 46-40 in a thriller at Walters Park.
The Waratahs hung on to beat a fast-finishing University 46-38 at Waratah Oval.
The Tahs led 36-12 at half-time.
In the final game, Southern Beaches flexed their muscles in a 41-24 win over Singleton at Ernie Calland Oval.
In the representative matches, NSW Country under-19s hung on to edged out Queensland Country 23-20.
In the seniors, Queensland Country scored a try in injury time to snatch a 18-16 over the NSW Cockatoos.
Premier 1 – Southern Beaches 41 (tries M Aliifaalogo, H Gavin, J Vaka, F Pauta, S Moss, L Waide, A Delore, con A Delore 2, J Vaka) def Singleton 24 (tries B Hay, AJ Brennan, W Gresham, con h meihana 2, pen h meihana)
Merewether Carlton 27 (tries M Hay 2, JH Wilson, C Nash, con KR Danovaro 2, pen KR Danovaro) def by Hamilton Hawks 36 (tries S Sione 3, JJ Akkersdyk, P Kilmurray, con P Kilmurray 4, pen P Kilmurray)
Wanderers 23 (tries D Rowney 2, con L Simmons 2, pen L Simmons 3) def Maitland 20 (tries J Maloney 2, J Robinson, con J Estatheo, pen J Maloney)
Lake Macquarie 46 (tries W Fraser 2, W Wilson 2, B Lupematasila, M Tauhinu, M De Vries, con B Holliday 4, pen B Holliday) def Nelson Bay 40
The Waratahs 46 (tries F Taufaao 2, D Heins 2, S Olive 2, K Vikilani, S Mavin, con S Olive 3) def University of Newcastle 38 (tries H Towle 2, D LeRougetel, J Cooke, R Walsh, R Clark, con F Delli Carpini 4)
Premier 2 – Southern Beaches 41 def Singleton 22 (tries S Lawrence, D Richards, C Clarke, B Bailey, con M Tanner)
Merewether Carlton 17 (tries M Weeks, I King, con J Bower 2, pen J Bower) def by Hamilton Hawks 25 (tries J Keelan 2, J Finn, L Vaisagote, con B Clay, pen J Finn)
Wanderers 17 (tries A Katoa, G Ashworth, con D Mancinelli 2, pen D Mancinelli) def Maitland 7 (tries P Armstrong, con C punch)
The Waratahs 12 (tries J Twomey, J Grant, con J Ford) def by Newcastle University 52 (tries S Berry 2, L Wales Brown, J Williams, M Fulwood, R Clark, J Hazell, J Ayliffe, con M Handley 6)
Under 19’s –
Merewether Carlton 1 31 (tries L Milton 4, con J Walker 4, pen J Walker) def Hamilton Hawks 21 (tries S Rodgers 2, H Mckie, con C Mulhearn 3)
Wanderers 22 (tries K Blasczak, L Richardson, L Kelly, con J Burnham 2, pen J Burnham) def Maitland 7 (tries J Cant, con N Taylor)
Merewether Carlton (2) 31 (tries E Fowles 2, E McCulloch, T Crowe, J Mackay, con H Price 2, E McCulloch) def Nelson Bay 19
Premier 3 – Southern Beaches 27 (tries C Gralton, J Frecklington, J Orton, B Graham, con C Gralton, J Gilbert, pen C Gralton) def Singleton 12 (tries M Cloete, P Hoare, con P Hoare)
Wanderers 7 (tries B Keevers, con ML Sherwood) def by Maitland 15 (tries S O'Connor, D Lewer, con A Golledge, pen A Golledge)
Merewether Carlton (2) 7 def by Hamilton Hawks 35 (tries M Steel, J Blenkinsop, N Mothobi, s quinn, L Vaisagote, con P Dan 3, L Vaisagote 2)
Merewether Carlton 1 29 (tries J Masoe 2, C Wilson, D Kelso, D Spiteri, con D Kelso 2) def Newcastle University 12 (tries LR Hanlon, B Cunnigham, con CS Handley)
Divisional: Round 10: Cooks Hill 1 0 drew Cooks Hill 2 0 Pokolbin 10 def Muswellbrook 7 Southern Lakes 22 def Cessnock 8