HAMILTON coach Scott Coleman has a message for the Hawks' Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union rivals - we still have room for improvement.
The Hawks stormed past Wanderers 34-19 in the major semi-final at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday to book a place in the grand final and a shot at a record fifth straight premiership.
A Cyril Burke-led Waratahs are the only other side to win four straight premierships from 1950-53. Before the Hawks' run it had been 17 years the last team, Maitland had gone back-to-back.
"There is definitely history to be made," Coleman said. "We can improve on that effort, 100 per cent, and we will need to. Our continuity and ability to hang on to the ball and build pressure can be better."
With the opening weekend of the finals lost to wet weather, minor premiers Hamilton hadn't played in three weeks. But Coleman's fears about being rusty were quickly dispelled.
With a dominant scrum and a 12-2 penalty count, many of which came at the set piece, they went to the break in control up 24-7.
Peter Maxwell opened the Hawks' account in the third minute from close range three phases after Hamilton's first tight-head.
"We definitely upped the ante at scrum time," Coleman said. "We have done a lot more on our scrum in the past three weeks. Our scrum didn't get as much pay as we hoped."
A mistake-ridden Wanderers rarely got of their own territory in the opening half, which prompted a spray from coach Dan Beckett at the break.
It had the desired impact. Centre Nimi Qio scored a solo effort down the short side and George Ashworth finished off a long-range effort as the Two Blues closed the gap to 24-19.
The Hawks lifted again. Dane Sherratt added a penalty to extend the gap to 27-19.
Any hope Wanderers had was quashed when they lost captain Ben Ham to a controversial yellow card - the fifth of the game.
One minute later, replacement Bryce Madden touched down beside the posts.
Hamilton now have a two-week break before the decider.
"We are definitely underdone and now we just have to look at how we train next week," Coleman said.