Hamilton have booked a place in a third straight Newcastle and Hunter rugby union grand final .
But it took a half-time spray from coach Scot Coleman for the minor premiers to get the job done.
The Hawks trailed 10-3 at half-time, but stormed home to overpower Southern Beaches 27-10 in major semi-final at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday.
Soni Halanukonka sliced through for two tries and Paddy Kilmurray and Ratu Delanimate also crossed.
“Everything we spoke about for the past two weeks – holding the ball, being patient and making tackles – we didn’t do in the first half,” Coleman said. “Our missed-tackle count was 15 and we had nine turnovers. For the first two minutes at half-time I just blew up at them. That’s rare. I normally wait until Monday and the video review to do that. I was that frustrated, I let them have it. The next three minutes of the break I said this is what we need to do, if we do it we will win by 30 points. There were still some stupid mistakes but I knew if we had enough ball, which we did, we would come home strong.”
Southern Beaches were their own worst enemy in the second half with ill-discipline proving costly.
They finished with 14 men after replacement lock Vilai Kelemete was given a red card for a lifting tackle on Hamilton winger Sireli Bainivalu in the 71st minute. They had lost Tyler Ostle to the sin bin three minutes earlier.
The Hawks led 20-8 at the time of the send off.
“Ill discipline cost us,” Beaches captain Va Talaileva said. “We spoke about it before the game. You can’t give away penalties against good teams like Hamilton. If you do, that it is basically giving away seven points. First half was good. We had one penalty against us and were leading.”
Southern Beaches will now play the loser of Sunday’s minor semi-final between Wanderers and Maitland.
Again it was the Hawks scrum which game them the ascendancy. They had Beaches under-pressure from the get-go. Although they didn’t win any tightheads they were awarded five scrum penalties and deprived Beaches of front-foot ball.
Beaches, although under pressure at the set piece, had the better of the first half.
Running into a strong southerly, they recycled possession and stretched the Hawks.
Paul Dan slotted a penalty to put Hamilton ahead after six minutes.
Beaches hit back through bullocking prop Michael Aliifaalogo after a dozen phases inside the Hawks quarter.
They thought they had stretched the lead when hooker Tyson Watene crossed in the left corner but he was ruled to have put his elbow into touch.
Momentum was with Beaches. Hamilton were reduced to 14 men when Laufiso Vaisegote was sent to the bin or a professional foul. Beaches added a penalty with the extra man to go to the break up 10-3.
Stung by Coleman’s spay, the Hawks started the second half with more urgency, especially in defence.
They reduced the lead to 10-8 in the 50th minute when Delanimate crossed after Kilmurray had made an initial bust.
Ten minutes, later Kilmurray dived over after Vaisegote flopped a pass inside that Beaches failed to handle.
All of a sudden Hamilton were off any running. Halanukonka carried two defenders over for his first try in the 71st minute to make it 20-8 and the fly half went in again to seal the win.