FORMER Newcastle Knights fullback Nathan Hinton scored the match-sealer as Macquarie held out a determined Cessnock 20-10 at Cessnock Sportsground on Saturday night.
Macquarie led 10-0 at half-time in the round five Newcastle Rugby League game, which started at the later time of 4.35pm.
Tries to Mat Hay and Mitch Manson put the Scorpions ahead.
Manson scored again midway through the second half before the Goannas crossed twice to close to 16-10 with three minutes remaining.
However, the hosts dropped the ball off the next kick-off and Hinton, who started in the centres for a Macquarie side missing Royce Geoffrey and Dave Woods, scored in the corner to ensure his side’s third win of the year.
Scorpions coach Adam Bettridge was relieved to get away with the points.
“It wasn’t a bad game, they showed plenty of fight and I was pretty impressed by them,” Bettridge said.
“We had a lot of changes and we only completed 52 per cent in the first half. Second half we were nearly 90 per cent.
“It’s always hard to win at Cessnock, especially a later game in wet, slippery conditions, so we’ll take the two points.
“I thought the whole forward pack aimed up, it was tough game, and Scott Briggs went well in his first game back from injury.”
Maitland beat a depleted Lakes outfit 40-1 at Coronation Oval in the other game on Saturday.
Earlier at Cessnock Sportsground, Newcastle’s under-23 Rebels side defeated North Coast 50-18 to progress in the Country Championships.
Newcastle’s ladies league tag side lost 20-10 to North Coast in their final game.
On Sunday, Wests take on Central Newcastle at Harker Oval and defending champions Souths play Kurri Kurri at Townson Oval.