Newcastle rugby: The Waratahs show heart but may need a miracle
UNSTOPPABLE: Maitland lock Michael Howell crossed for two tries.
PLAYER-COACH Carl Manu cannot question the heart of his injury-ravaged Waratahs but concedes they will need to find some special to make the finals.
The Tahs went down 38-33to Maitland –their first loss to the Blacks in nine encounters –on Saturday to continue a slide in form.
They trailed 24-0 in the first half, before a late rally to earna bonus point.
The Tahs, after a strong start to the campaign, have lost five of the last seven and two of the past three to slip to eighth on 26 points, nine outside the five.
Coach takes heart in Tahs’ effort TweetFacebook Maitland v The WaratahsPictures: Marina Neil“We have to keep slugging away,” Manu said. “The boys have got a bit of heart. We may need a couple of miracles. Every team has injuries at this time of the year. Ours are to key players.Hopefully we get a few players back. We have had similar issues in the past and managed to wiggle ourselves into the semis. You never know.”
The Blacks, who had lost five straight, started on the front foot and were never headed. Michael Howell and Junior Poloai scored two tries each.
”We didn’t hold on to the ball early and made a few defensive errors as well,” Manu said.
Elsewhere on Saturday,Tim Marsh scored two of Wanderers’ eight tries in a 50-0 rout over University at Bernie Curran Oval.
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. The Hawks led 21-0 at half-time.