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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Max McKinney

Souths into outright second after 26-16 win over Macquarie

SPIRITED DISPLAY: Souths winger Jacob Afflick, left, embraces five-eighth Angus Ernst. Picture: Marina Neil

Souths coach Andrew Ryan hailed his side's "spirit" but admitted the Lions were "lucky to get the win" against Macquarie on Sunday.

The Lions claimed a 26-16 victory at Townson Oval to leapfrog the Scorpions and move into outright second place on the Newcastle Rugby League ladder.

They were behind 12-10 at halftime and conceded after the break to trail 16-10 but were able to take advantage of Macquarie being a man down, scoring two tries while Ben Roose was in the sin-bin.

But exemplifying the topsy-turvy affair, Souths then lost a player of their own for the final 10 minutes after winger Jacob Afflick was binned for throwing a punch.

Afflick had earlier bagged a double, scoring exciting diving tries in the right corner either side of halftime.

Macquarie got an opportunity with two minutes left to play after Souths dropped the ball, but Lions winger Reece Howard took an intercept and ran 50 metres to seal the result with a try.

"We made it hard for ourselves again today against a very good footy side," Ryan said.

"I was more than a bit worried ... but for us to hold on with 12 men, a fair bit of spirit shown.

"We were probably lucky to get the win."

PLENTY OF EFFORT: Macquarie winger Joe Woodbury takes a run at Townson Oval on Sunday. Picture: Marina Neil

At Harker Oval, last-placed Wests finally scored their first win, defeating Cessnock 18-16.

The Rosellas trailed 10-4 but scored two tries in the second half and kicked a penalty goal in the final few minutes to claim victory.

On Saturday, Central came agonisingly close to handing Maitland consecutive losses, giving away a penalty in the 78th minute that allowed the Pickers to kick a penalty goal and tie the game at 20-all.

The Butcher Boys had fallen 18-6 behind early in the second half at Maitland's No.1 Sportsground, but scored 14 unanswered points to take a 20-18 lead with less than 10 minutes left to play.

They looked on track for the win until being penalised for a high shot on Pickers halfback Brock Lamb.

Lamb, who was hit high about 10 metres out and right of the goalposts, easily slotted the penalty goal.

Neither side came close to scoring in the dying seconds, resulting in the competition's first draw this season.

Lakes United overcame the loss of multiple key players, including fullback Matt Cooper and halfback Jack Kelly, to defeat Kurri Kurri 20-12 at Cahill Oval.

The win, only the Seagulls' second of the year, also came with three players - Caleb Faulkner, Blake Potts and Taj Blackman - on debut. Faulkner scored the first try.

Halfback Floyd Tighe played his part in place of Jack Kelly, scoring a try and kicking three conversions and a penalty goal.

"No one will know externally how hard these guys have worked for that particular win," Seagulls coach Ian Bourke said.

"We had three players bed-ridden all week ... three debutants [and] a 19-year-old five-eighth.

"Our future was out there on the park.

"The logistics of how we've handled ourselves this week ... they thoroughly deserved that victory."

Wyong beat Central Coast rivals The Entrance 24-8 at EDSACC Oval.

LADDER: Maitland (17), Souths (14), Macquarie (12), Central (11), Cessnock (10), Wyong (10), The Entrance (8), Lakes United (4), Kurri Kurri (4), Wests (2)

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