COACH Tim Chidgey expects teams to now start ‘‘coming’’ for Southern Beaches after the former whipping boys claimed a second major scalp to remain the only unbeaten side after five rounds of the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union.
A week after shutting down premiers Merewether 35-10, Beaches downed last-season’s beaten grand finalists Hamilton 28-21 at Cahill Oval on Saturday.
The win ended the Hawks’ perfect start to the season and moved Beaches three points clear at the top of the table – a position they have never held.
‘‘We have been used to going after other teams but teams will start coming after us now,’’ Chidgey said. ‘‘It is vital that we stay focused.
‘‘I think it’s more our supporters looking at the table than us. They see the wins adding up and their excitement is growing..
‘‘All I know is that we have two big games ahead of us.
‘‘Lake Macquarie is a real danger game, then we have Wanderers on the reopening of No.2 Sportsground.
‘‘Mentally I hope the boys can handle it. It is a different sort of pressure when you are out in front.
‘‘We didn’t play that well against Hamilton – the second 40 minutes was our worst for the season – but we still won. That is a new thing for Southern Beaches.’’
Hamilton played the final 50 minutes with 14 men after William Soe was sent off for a second yellow card.
The burly prop and Beaches lock Adrian Sutter were sent to the sin bin in the 10th minute for fighting.
A minute later, Beaches were reduced to 13 men when Kane Quinlan was given a yellow card for a late tackle.
Soe had been back on the field 10 minutes when he was given a second yellow for punching.
Captain Andy Delore crossed for a try to give the home side a 11-6 advantage at the break.
Despite being a man down, Hamilton hit back after the break to go ahead 21-18.
But the revival lost steam and Beaches answered with tries to Kane Quinlan and Corey Nash to claim the victory.
‘‘The send-off certainly didn’t help,’’ Hawks coach Scott Coleman said.
‘‘In saying that we had the ball for the final eight minutes and had enough chances to level it up but we didn’t play smart.
‘‘To be honest, we didn’t deserve a draw.’’
The Hawks were without six NSW Country representative, but Coleman had nothing but praise for Beaches.
‘‘They made the semis last season, but they are much improved on that,’’ he said.
‘‘Having Bleddyn [Grant] at No.8 gives them go forward.
‘‘Then they bring [Nathan] Tule off the bench with 20 minutes to go and he adds a bit more spark.
‘‘Adrian Sutter is strong and the front row are all little nugget and go well.
‘‘At the back Tim Riley was exceptional, especially on the counter attack.
‘‘We missed a lot of one-on-one tackles in our kick chase and that put us under pressure.’’
Meanwhile, Mark Wade marked his return to Merewether from the Knights with a try as the Greens bounced back to form with a 38-24 win over University.
Released by the NRL club on Thursday, Wade started at blindside breakaway but was replaced at half-time after a recurrence of an ankle injury.
In other games, No.8 Junior To’o crossed for four tries to lead Lake Macquarie to a 46-26 triumph over The Waratahs at Walters Park, centre Michael Hendry scored a hat-trick as Maitland powered past Nelson Bay 34-12 at Marcellin Park and Wanderers shut out Singleton 43-0 at Passmore Oval.