SOUTHERN Beaches coach Tim Chidgey reminded his players that premierships are not won in May but admitted to a sense of satisfaction after the former whipping boys of the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union ended Merewether’s 23-game unbeaten run.
The Greens had not been beaten since the 2010 preliminary final but had no answer to a clinical Beaches outfit at Cahill Oval on Saturday.
The home side led 14-3 at half-time and extended the margin to 35-3 before Merewether crossed for a consolation try on full-time.
The 35-10 win also secured Beaches the Hawthorne Cup and leaves them and Hamilton, who accounted for The Waratahs 29-17, as the only undefeated teams.
They meet in a blockbuster at Cahill Oval on Saturday.
‘‘It sets up a big game next week,’’ Chidgey said.
‘‘The guys have to stay focused. While it was good to beat Merewether and it gives us plenty of confidence, it is only May.
‘‘We are only four games into the competition. Where we are now means nothing.
‘‘Our supporters are rapt, but realistically it is only four games.’’
Beaches had never beaten Merewether in the top grade before Saturday’s result.
‘‘You could see what the win meant to a lot of people,’’ Chidgey said.
‘‘If you look at the crowd, they are still here 10 minutes after the game.
‘‘I was really happy for the Delores, the Ostles and blokes like Ben Smit.
‘‘They were playing first grade at 18 and getting their bums kicked week in week out. They have copped big punishment and it was satisfying for them to be on the other side.’’
Merewether have lost half of last year’s premiership side to departure and injury.
They are set to be boosted by the return of Mark Wade, who is meeting with the Knights today in an attempt to return to the Greens.
‘‘Hopefully Wadey is sorted out on Monday,’’ Merewether coach Stacey Sykes said.
‘‘We have got a lot of players to come back – Mark Wade, Sean Rudder, Sam Clifton, Sam Bright, Adam Nolan – but Beaches deserved the win. They will give Hamilton a fair run.
‘‘We have a number of young guys coming through and we just have to stick to our guns and try to get better every week.’’
Elsewhere, Singleton five-eighth Ihaia Harris landed a late penalty to grab the Bulls a 19-all draw against Lake Macquarie at Rugby Park.
Super boot James Wivell came off the bench to kick a crucial late penalty for the second straight week as Wanderers snatched a 30-29 win over Maitland at Marcellin Park.
The Two Blues had trailed 30-20 deep into the second half. Halfback Luke Sherwood crossed for a converted try to put the visitors in reach before Wivell landed a 40-metre penalty.
The utility, who came on at fullback, converted from near the sideline to secure a 34-all draw with University the week before.
Hamilton had to work hard to topple The Waratahs at Waratah Oval. Jarrod Clayton, Aidan Kwast, Steve Sione and Simon Haron crossed for tries.
Centre Tim Alliston scored a brace of tries to lead University to their first win of the season, 27-24 over Nelson Bay at Bill Strong Oval.