Premiers Picton Magpies bounced back from their shock loss last week to defeat Oakdale 40-16 at Sid Sharpe Oval in round four of the Group 6 rugby league premiership.
Moss Vale Dragons scraped past Campbelltown City Kangaroos 10-6 at Fullwood Reserve, while Camden Rams continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 38-18 win over Mittagong Lions at Harvey Shephard Field.
In the match of the round, Thirlmere Roosters ground out a dogged 22-18 win over The Oaks Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
MIKE SHEAN reports that the Roosters had to play from behind for most of the day, before a late charge saw them claim victory on the back of a three try burst at Dudley Chesham Oval.
The Roosters led early after centre Blake Harrison scored a try 10 minutes into the game, which was played in front of a very healthy crowd on a cloudy Sunday afternoon.
The Oaks seemed to be hampered by an injury to captain coach Mitchell Brasington, who appeared to take a knock to his knee early in the game, limiting his usually high involvement in attacking plays.
Brasington left the majority of his work to his brother and halfback Matthew, along with starting hooker Jaydyn Phillips, who played more minutes than originally planned.
The Tigers began to take control of the match when Matthew Brasington scored a solo try, before Phillips scored another to give the home side a 12-6 lead after 25 minutes.
Neither side was able to score before halftime, as the game developed into a wrestle.
The second half offered up more of the same in the opening stages, before Matthew Brasington scored his second try of the day, which was a highlight of the game, thanks to a pinpoint banana kick from Mitchell.
This extended the lead to 18-6, a substantial one in the context of the match.
From that point on the Tigers tried to hold out for their third win of the season – but unfortunately the Roosters had other ideas.
The game came to life with 15 minutes left, as prop Kye Madden scored to reduce the margin to only 6 points, giving the visiting supporters hope of victory.
Shortly after centre Justin Smith scored on the left edge, and a low flat conversion from wide out from Adam Campbell levelled the scores at 18-18 with 9 minutes remaining.
A third try to the Roosters, which turned out to be the match-winner, came with 5 minutes on the clock, as scheming five-eighth Dayne Craig crossed to give Thirlmere a 22-18 lead.
Campbell missed the conversion, giving the Tigers hope of snatching a victory late, but Thirlmere’s defence held strong until the final hooter.
The Oaks have now dropped two games by close margins in the last fortnight, to slide down the ladder to third.
Thirlmere are joint leaders with Camden, but percentages see them sit second on the ladder after the opening month of play.
Thirlmere host Mittagong next weekend, while The Oaks face a tricky assignment – away at Narellan, who surprised Picton in Round 3.
RESULTS ROUND 4 – FIRST GRADE
The Oaks Tigers 18 Thirlmere Roosters 22;
Campbelltown City 6 Moss Vale Dragons 10;
Camden Rams 38 Mittagong Lions 18;
Oakdale Workers 16 Picton Magpies 40.
The Oaks 14 Thirlmere 36;
Campbelltown City 34 Moss Vale 4;
Camden 28 Mittagong 14;
Oakdale 14 Picton 60.
Mt Annan Oakdale Knights 18 Thirlmere 36;
Camden 20 Mittagong 20.
Camden 50 Thirlmere 0.
Camden 42 Mittagong 0;
The Oaks 20 Narellan 10;
City Blue 48 City Gold 0;
Oakdale 30 Picton 0.
Warragamba Wombats 16 Narellan 22;
Oran Park Chargers 36 Bowral Blues 12;
Campbelltown City 36 Bargo Bunnies 4;
Mt Annan Knights 34 Picton Magpies 16.
NEXT WEEK – ROUND 5 – FIRST GRADE
Moss Vale v Camden
Narellan v The Oaks
Oakdale v Campbelltown City
Thirlmere v Mittagong
(All Sunday 2.30pm).