HAMILTON coach Scott Coleman has been in this position before.
Significantly, so have many of the Hawks players.
Hamilton produced a clinical second half to overpower fierce rivals Wanderers 43-29 at Passmore Oval on Saturday to ice the minor premiership, win the Hawthorne Cup and ensure they take momentum into the finals campaign.
It has been the same scenario for the past three years.
“We are definitely in a good position but we are still not clicking,” Coleman said. “The players know that and are confident we can get it right. Our catch-pass accuracy, enthusiasm and intensity for the whole 80 minutes isn’t there yet. We are pretty fortunate to have some big moment players – Steve Lamont, Joe Akkersdyk, Patty Kilmurray. These guys have been there for the last four years and know exactly what we have to do and where we have to go get too.”
Hamilton had to work hard to beat the Two Blues.
The visitors led 12-0 early. However, Hamilton found a way back and took a 19-17 lead to the break.
“First half they were all over us,” Coleman said. “Their forwards were out-enthusing us and out-playing us. They wanted it more. When we finally woke up to that we fired again.”
The Hawks lifted and Wanderers lost Jack Lewsley and Ben Ham to the sinbin. In a, blink the game was gone.
Winger Kirisome Laulala crossed for three tries for the Hawks and Dane Sherratt grabbed a double.
“The two sinbins hurt us,” Wanderers coach Darren Young said. “It gave them a little bit of accent on the outside and they hurt us with wide shift-ball. In the middle it was a pretty good war. We won 98 per cent of our ruck ball. That has been a challenge for us and we will need to aim up there again next week.”
Wanderers face a sudden death showdown with Nelson Bay, who had the bye in the final round, at No.2 Sportsground on Sunday.
Maitland meet Merewether in the qualifying semi-final at the same venue on Saturday. Hamilton have a rest in the first week of the finals.
The Blacks had to work hard to overcome Lake Macquarie 40-28 at Walters Park.
The visitors led 21-7 but the Roos came back to close the gap to 26-21 before the Blacks sealed it late.
At Ernie Calland Oval, Jarome Wilson, Sam Bright and Billy Coffey each scored two tries as Merewether beat Southern Beaches 52-17.
At Bernie Curran Oval, Tom Badger (University) and Singleton duo Cody Fenwick and Cooper Harris were sent off for fighting as the Bulls pipped the Students 51-44.