Beaches strengthen grip on third as top five emerge TweetFacebook NHRU Round 13Pictures: Marina Neill and Stewart HazellSOUTHERN Beaches strengthened their grip on third place with a bruising win over Lake Macquarie and Maitland ended afive-game losing streak as the top five kicked cleared in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union after round 13.
Only Singleton, who are yet to win a game, had been out of finals contention a fortnight ago.
However, with five rounds remaining the final are now starting to take shape.
Hamilton lead on 62points, followed by Wanderers (58), Southern Beaches (47), Maitland (35) and Lake Macquarie (35).
Nelson Bay (28 points) are seven points adrift in sixth alongside Merewether with the Waratahs (26) an outside chance.
Southern Beaches had to work overtime in a grudgematch at Walters Park.
Fullback Adrian Delore scored two tries for the visitors in an entertaining, seesawing affair.
Beachess, despite have to defend for most of the first half, went to the break on level terms at 14-all.
Delore crossed for his second, hauling in a high pass from James Vaka, to put Beachesahead 21-14 in the 54th minute.
Bullocking Roos prop Willie Fraser replied four minutes, dragging four defenders across the line. Brendan Holliday, who had a rare off day with the boot, hit the upright with the conversion for 21-19.
Vaka, who along with Mika Iopa was outstanding, sealed the win when he got a strong palm on Caileb Gerrard and raced 35 metres to score.
At Marcellin Park, Maitland raced out to a 24-0 lead before holding on to beat an injury-hit Tahs.
Tim Marsh scored two of Wanderers eight tries in a 51-0 rout over University.
Jay Strachan marked his return to the starting side with a try to help steer Merewether to a 36-7 triumph over Singleton at Rugby Park.
Leaders Hamilton held off a dogged second-half come back to beat Nelson Bay 36-15 at Strong Oval
Nelson Bay 15 (N Oliver, EBurgess tries;BMacnaughton con, M Wiringi pen) def by Hamilton Hawks 31 (R Kelly 2, J Akkersdyk, S Sione, SBainivalu tries;SHalanukonuka 3 con)
University of Newcastle 0 def by Wanderers 50 (TMarsh 2, LMarshall, MChristensen, G Locke, LSimmons, DRowney, JMcCormack tries;LSimmons 5 con)
Lake Macquarie 19 (R Alo 2, W Fraser tries;BHolliday 2 con) def by Southern Beaches 28 (ADelore 2, I Mika, JVaka tries;MDelore 4 con)
Singleton 7 (O Gresham try;Hmeihana con) def by Merewether Carlton 36 (JStewart 2, JPenfold, F Price, EBacigalupo, JStrachan tries;EBacigalupo 3 con)
Maitland 38 (MHowell 2, JPoloai 2, T Brooke, JJohnston tries;RClacherty 3, J Maloney con) def The Waratahs 31 (A Finau 2, T Taufaao, F Roberts, C Hicks tries;D Sherratt 4 con)Continue Reading →