AFTER opening the 2019 campaign with back-to-back wins, the Lake Macquarie Roos have already jumped clear of last year's total on the competition ladder.
The Roos sit equal second with nine points, including a four-try bonus from week one, having gone through 2018 without a win and collecting the wooden spoon on just six points.
Before knocking off Wanderers (19-14) and Singleton (43-25) recently, and prior to a mid-season 15-all draw with Southern Beaches in July, the Walters Park-based club last tasted victory in 2017 when pushing for the Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union premier 1 finals.
* PETER Maxwell proved to be the hero for the Hamilton Hawks against Singleton at Rugby Park on Saturday, burying over for the match-winning try out wide with three minutes left on the clock.
The veteran prop saw the four-time defending premiers regain the lead over the Bulls, who had fought back from an early 14-0 deficit, and hold on for a narrow 27-26 victory.
"We didn't deserve to win to be honest," Hawks coach Scott Coleman said. "They played well, stuck it to us."
* MAITLAND will be down Josh McCormack and Phil Bradford for their upcoming top-of-the-table clash with frontrunners Merewether at Marcellin Park.
Both are unavailable but Blacks coach Matt Thomas has welcomed the late return of last year's skipper Chris Logan, who crossed for a double on Saturday.
* THE WARATAHS, Merewether and Easts-University were all first-up winners in the new-look NHRU women's competition.