HAMILTON coach Scott Hamilton is glad the Hawks will finish the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union in the top two and avoid a sudden death semi-final against Lake Macquarie.
The Hawks, chasing a fifth straight premiership, took 60 minutes to grab the ascendancy against an undermanned Lake Macquarie at Walters Park on Saturday.
The Roos, despite a scrum on skates, led 21-10 after 53 minutes.
However, Hamilton scored three tries in six minutes to swing momentum their way. In the end, they ran out 43-26 winners.
But Coleman saw enough on the field - and players standing on the sideline - to be wary of the fifth-placed Roos in the finals.
"I wouldn't want to finish fourth," Coleman said.
"They will come out in the first semi with all guns blazing and have nothing to lose. They had six or seven players out and really stuck it to us. They are very physical and put pressure on through their defence and on the ball. They go very hard at the breakdown.
"Also their offloading in attack. They didn't get too many away against us but their offloads can be lethal."
Mika Ioapa, Brendan Holliday, Brian Sefanaia, Marty Lisiua, Hayden Pederson and Willie Fraser didn't play against the Hawks.
"They have a lot of injured players who they are trying to get right for the semis," Coleman said. "I'm not sure how they will fit them all in with their points. That will be the biggest problem for them, getting players to get through 80 minutes and having enough player points available for guys on the bench to come on and have an impact. "
Lake Macquarie's player points cap is 24, the equivalent of eight new players from last season. They used the maximum 24 points on Saturday.
One area the Roos need to fix is the scrum.
Hamilton had them under constant pressure from the first whistle.
"We set out to really dominate the set piece, the scrums especially," Coleman said.
"We pushed them back all day. [Props] Barcelona (Lupematasila) and Wendell (Wilson) are big units but we got them with technique.
"I actually don't think we got enough reward from the referee for the dominance we had. We disintegrated their scrum but didn't receive any penalties early. We got rewarded at the end of the game but not at the beginning."
The win leaves Hamilton seven points clear at the top of the table with matches against University and second-placed Wanderers remaining.
Elsewhere on Saturday, halfback George Sinclair crossed for four as Wanderers ran in 16 tries on the way to a 106-7 demolition of University at No.2 Sportsground
Lachy Milton and Sam Rouse each scored doubles as Merewether overpowered Singleton 43-5 at Rugby Park.
At Marcellin Park, tackle-breaking No.8 Travis Brooke notched a double to help steer Maitland to a 43-14 win over Southern Beaches.
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