Last-minute draw has ongoing ladder effects TweetFacebook Newcastle RL – Souths v Wests at Townson OvalPictures by Marina NeilA late try in the corner to Simon Williams saw Western Suburbs and South Newcastle split the competition points after a thrilling 16-all drawat Townson Oval on Sunday.
Williams levelled proceedings with just 75 seconds left on the clock and thenWests halfback Jade Porter had the chance to steal a win with a sideline conversions after full-timebut his normally sweet left-foot strikewas unsuccessful for thefourth timethat afternoon.
Instead both sides shared the spoils and remain locked togetherin third position on the Newcastle Rugby League ladder with15 points –two shy of frontrunners Macquarie (17) and two in front of Kurri Kurri (13) with Lakes (16) and Cessnock (14) sitting either side.
This congestion was also created by other round 12 results. Macquarie’s hard-fought 20-14 victory over Central Newcastle at St John Oval on Sundaysaw them reclaim pole positionafter now second-placed Lakes were defeated by the in-form Bulldogs 18-12 at Kurri on Saturday. The Goannasretained fifth spot after accounting for Maitland10-6 at Cessnock on Saturday.
It means just four points, or two wins, separate the top six teams with four rounds remaining, which sets upa grandstand finish to the 2016 season.
EVEN: South Newcastle’s Brendan Simpson tackled by Western Suburbs pair Chris Knight and Peter Mannion on Sunday. Picture: Marina Neil.
Adding to the drama was a tight tussle between the Rosellas and Lionswith a try thegreatest margin at any point throughout the see-sawing encounter.
First-half tries to Joel Brown and Williams has the visitors ahead 8-4 at the break with Jarod Flanagan scoring in between for Souths.
The hosts then crossed and converted courtesy of William Heta for an advantage of two before Willis Alatiniput Wests back in front 12-10.
An effort by Sam Cookhad the Lions in sight of victory for the last 20 minutes but a second to Williams locked it all up.
“We split thepoints in the end but out on the field it felt like we had done enough to win, especially conceding that try right at the end,” Souths captain-coach Todd Hurrell said.
Wests mentor Steve Storrie thoughthis squad were fortunate.“We were lucky to get away with it in the end but at least we got something out of it,” he said.
Macquarie and Central were 10-all at half-time.
In other Newcastle Rugby Leaguenews, Steve Kidd will rejoin Cessnock as head coach next year after leading themto a grand final in 2014.
The former Kurri Kurri Bulldogs player was in charge of the Newcastle under-18 representative team this season and will take over from current Goannas mentor Dan Smailes.
LADDER:Macquarie 17; Lakes 16; South Newcastle, Western Suburbs 15; Cessnock 14; Kurri Kurri 13; Central Newcastle, Maitland 3.
In the meantime Kidd will completehis second yearas assistant at Central Newcastle and Butcher Boys captain-coach Rowan Kelly
”Congratulations to him, but we addressed the playing group about it and I don’t think we will hear about it again,” Kelly said. “We are still focussed on this job and finishing off this year.”