Under-pressure Wests Rosellas coach Matt Lantry got the result he was after but warned his side that one performance doesn’t define a season unless they back it up next week.
The Rosellas unveiled new signings Ryan Stig, Chad O’Donnell and Uti Baker in their 30-16 win over Maitland on Saturday, just their second victory of the season.
Baker is back after starting the season at Souths Logan while former Wests junior O’Donnell, who won an S G Ball premiership with the Sydney Roosters in 2014, has quit the Penrith Panthers to return home.
It was former Knight Stig’s first game for the club.
“We got out of the blocks quickly and put some points on them to lead 24-6 at one stage in the first half which was pleasing ,”Lantry said.
“To their credit, they came back at us but we were good enough to hold them off in the second half.”
Asked had the win at Harker Oval taken the heat away from the club’s ordinary start to the season, Lantry said:
“I wouldn’t say the pressure’s off. It’s about backing it up now.”
It wasn’t all good news for the Rosellas however.
They lost hooker Chris Knight and utility forward Ben Stone to injury during the game with fullback Sam Keenan filling in at dummy half for a big chunk of the match.
Kurri halfback Jade Porter is facing possible ankle surgery but the Bulldogs were still good enough to repel defending premiers Macquarie without him at Kurri.
The Bulldogs led 14-12 at halftime and 26-12 at one stage in the second half before hanging on for a 26-24 win that gave them the outright competition lead.
The Scorpions, who fought back in the second half, had a couple of late shots at the Kurri try-line but couldn’t crack the defence with coach Adam Bettridge admitting they didn’t deserve to win.
“We didn’t respect the footy enough to get a result,”he said
“We made too many errors and gave away three or four penalties late in tackle counts which just killed us.”
To make matters worse, the Scorpions lost returning halfback Nathan Hinton with a knee injury with backrower Randall Briggs also a casualty.
Former Wests Tigers lower grade fullback Toa Mata’afa arrived at Lakes United with big wraps from former Tigers coach Jason Taylor.
And he turned matchwinner for the Seagulls on Saturday when he nailed a late penalty goal in Lakes 20-18 win over Central Newcastle at Cahill Oval.
It completed a great comeback from Lakes, who gave up a 12-0 halftime lead to trail 18-12 before man-of-the-match backrower Nick Glohe level things up with a converted try with under 10 minutes remaining.
“It was a fair game of footy,”Lakes coach Todd Edwards said.
“We led 12-0 at halftime and I thought we could have scored a couple of more tries but they have some strike Central and came back out and put three on us to lead 18-12.
“I thought we did well to fight our way back. Young Nick Glohe was great for us and picked up the players’ player award.”
Cessnock coach Al Lantry says his side is still a long way from its best but was happy with their 22-12 win over South Newcastle at Cessnock.
The Goannas played some of their best footy of the season in the opening 20 minutes to lead 10-4 at halftime but found themselves down 12-10 before tries to Cal Edwards and Paul Carter got them home.
“It’s always a good sign when you are not at your best and you still win,” Lantry said.
“We still have five or six regular first graders out.’
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