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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Max McKinney

Macquarie ends Maitland's year-long unbeaten run with one-point win

BETWEEN THE POSTS: Macquarie forward Luke Higgins crosses for a try in the Scorpions' 21-20 win over Maitland at Lyall Peacock Oval on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Picture: Jonathan Carroll

They are the only side to have beaten Maitland in a year, but Macquarie still have a long way to go in the eyes of coach Steve Kidd.

The Scorpions ended the Pickers' undefeated run that dated back to round four last season with a gritty 21-20 win at home on Saturday.

It was a hard-fought triumph on a mud-caked ground that Kidd described as a nice reward for his players' efforts this season.

But he said the scoreline showed his side still had "plenty of work to do".

Macquarie led 20-6 with half-hour left to play at Lyall Peacock Oval, but Maitland scored two tries in the space of eight minutes and kicked a penalty goal in the 70th minute to tie the contest.

The momentum had clearly swung the visitor's way, but the Scorpions managed to make 60 metres in their next set and they didn't muck around with Jeremy Gibson nailing a field goal from about 23 metres out.

The five-eighth's kick in the 72nd minute would prove the difference with Macquarie holding on to end Maitland's winning streak that lasted more than a year.

Kidd said the victory was an indication his side were on the right track to challenge for the title this year, but their second-half collapse showed they were far from the complete product.

"We'll be competitive all the time, but I think we've still got a lot of work to do to probably be considered in those top couple of teams," he said. "But we can beat anyone on our day, we just need to play good footy.

"We've probably been guilty of being too up and down in games.

"Once we get that consistency, there's no reason why we can't be challenging."

Maitland coach Matt Lantry lamented his side's "poor first 40 minutes".

"I've been critical of our inability to put an 80-minute performance together and it came back to bite us," he said. "A mountain of possession against us in the first-half, it was probably lucky it was only 18-6 at halftime."

The Scorpions' win reduced the gap to leaders Maitland to only four points.

They are still equal second with Souths after the Lions came from behind to beat Wests 16-10 at Townson Oval on Saturday.

Leading 10-4 and looking likely to claim their first win this season, Wests opted for a penalty kick in the 67th minute but missed the attempt from 40 metres out.

It allowed Souths to regain possession from a short kick off the 20-metre restart and the home side marched downfield to score soon after.

With the scores then level, Souths centre Jarrod Flanagan finished off a sweep on the left to cross for what would prove the match-winner with three minutes left.

"Wests were very good, we were very lucky to get the win," Souths coach Andrew Ryan said. "The first half was not great from us, but the spirit and fight we showed was super impressive."

Elsewhere, Cessnock backed up their impressive win last week with a 38-22 victory over Central at home.

The Goannas only held a 14-12 lead at the break but scored two tries in the first 10 minutes of the second half to move 14 points ahead.

Central hit back but the Goannas crossed a further two times to seal the win.

Veteran halfback Luke Walsh returned from injury for Central to make his first apperance since late April.

At Kurri Kurri Sports Ground, the Bulldogs came from behind to defeat Wyong 12-10 and claim only their second win this season.

It was a well earned victory for the home side in another game played on a muddy field at the weekend.

The win lifted the Bulldogs into eighth above Lakes United, who fell to The Entrance 26-12 at home on Friday.

LADDER: Maitland (16), Macquarie, Souths (12), Central, Cessnock (10), Wyong, The Entrance (8), Kurri (4), Lakes (2), Wests (0).

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