CESSNOCK coach Todd Edwards wasn't sure what he was more proud about - that the Goannas came from 18-10 down to pip Macquarie or the fact his side included 12 local juniors.
In an absorbing Newcastle Rugby League clash, Cessnock crossed for two late tries to beat Macquarie 20-18 at Peackock Field on Saturday.
And it was one of the home-grown brigade who provided the heroics.
Winger Joe Woodbury crossed for a hat-trick of tries. The second was when the visitors were down 18-10 and had centre Brayden Musgrove in the sinbin.
Then, with six minutes remaining, he produced a solo effort down the left to put the Goannas ahead.
"We had to grind it out," Edwards said. "I was really proud of the way the boys fought to the end. We had a player in the sinbin and still managed to score. That gave the boys a lift and then we scored again. We had to show some resolve and we did, which was excellent. Twelve of the 17 were Cessnock kids and have come through the system. Unlike some clubs, we don't have any feeder clubs. We only have our own and I was proud of the way they stood up.
"Steve Waetford started at hooker and spent some time in the middle and was great. Reed Hugo was good, Sam Apthorpe was good ... overall we were just happy to get the cash."
The win was the Goanna's second of the season.
"We probably played better last week and lost," Edwards said. "It is a really even comp. It was like this last year. If you don't hold your gloves up, you'll get beat. We also had some luck, which is something we haven't had for a while."
Elsewhere Saturday, hooker Daniel Peck crossed for a try with five minutes remaining to seal Lakes United a 22-18 win over Kurri Kurri at Kurri Sportsground.
In a seesawing affair, Lakes jumped out to a 10-0 lead only for the home side to hit back and go to the break at 10-all.
They traded tries before Jarome Haines landed a penalty in the 72nd minute to put Kurri ahead 18-16.
At Maitland Sportsground, Souths dominated from the outset to overpower the Pickers 46-24.
The visitors ran in six tries in the first half to be well in control, leading 30-12 at the break.