PREMIERS Hamilton climbed off the canvas to record a a controversial 20-18 triumph over Wanderers at Passmore Oval to remain the only unbeaten team after eight rounds of the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union.
The Hawks trailed 15-0 after 15 minutes. However, on the back of a 10-4 penalty count, they managed to claw their way back to 15-all at the break.
They Hawks scrum was dominant and had the Two Blues on the back foot.
Fullback Laufiso Vaisegote, who was outstanding, put the home side ahead with a 40 metre dash down the left touchline after halfback Matt Ferry had spotted a hole on the short side.
Wanderers captain Luke Simmons landed a penalty in the 60th minute to close the gap to 20-18.
The visitors thought they had snatched a win in the dying moments when replacement breakaway Tom Emayel dived over in the right corner.
However, the touch judge ruled he had been tackled into touch before planting the ball down.
BarTV Sports replays showed the decision was highly contentious.
In the end the Hawks scored four-tries-to-two to take hold of the Hawthorne Cup.
It was the Two Blues’ first loss of the season and dropped them to second place on 35 points, two behind the Hawks (37).
Ferry, Vaisegote, captain Steve Lamont and lock Joe Akkersdyk were the Hawks’ best.
For the Two Blues, number eight Ben Ham got through a power of work, fly-half Luke Simmons caused problems when he took the line on and centre Dillon Rowney was dangerous.
Elsewhere, Merewether No.8 Jarome Wilson and Southern Beaches prop Jackson McLean for were given red cards for fighting as the Greens succumbed to the home side 26-15. Merewether led 10-7 at half-time.
University came from 8-0 down to overrun Singleton 45-8 at Bernie Callan Oval.
Lake Macquarie ambushed Maitland 37-24 at Walters Park and Nelson Bay scored 14-unanswered points in the second half to beat The Waratahs 14-7 at Strong Oval.
Meanwhile, NSW Country beat Brumbies Provincial 50-34 in Canberra.