It was the new kids on the block scoring points for the Maitland Blacks in their 34-12 bonus point victory against Nelson Bay at Marcellin Park on Saturday.
Outside centre Michael Hendry scored a hat-trick in his return from injury after making his debut in the top grade at the end of last season, replacement Dillon Rowney claimed a five-pointer against his former teammates and five-eighth Ryan McCormack was successful with his six attempts at goal.
Together the trio posted all of the Blacks’ points in the fifth round encounter and allowed two-time Anderson Medal winner Adam Perkins to celebrate his 200th game for the 135-year-old club in style.
On top of this, a Blacks triumph ensured they stayed in touch with the top five on the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union competition ladder after a 1-3 win-loss record to start season 2012.
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Blacks coach Geoff Golledge said he was pleased with the result and the Blacks’ performance.
“There was a lot to like out of the weekend,” Golledge said.
“Hendry was damaging, Dillon [Rowney] added spark at the back when he came on, Ryan [McCormack] kicked six from six, Jon Runchel played 80 minutes in his first game back and Frenchy [Hugues de Rocquigny] was our best player out there.
“Everybody has been working hard and we knew it was coming but it was good to get the win.”
An intense opening 20 minutes was released by Hendry when he charged down a field goal attempt and ran away to score for the Blacks.
His second try in the opening stanza combined with two conversions and two penalties from McCormack gave the Blacks a 20-0 lead at the break.
Hendry crossed for his third of the afternoon shortly after half-time while utility back Rowney made an immediate impression by scoring on the hour mark not long after taking the field.
In other fifth round results, Southern Beaches took the competition lead with a 28-21 victory against an under-strength Hamilton, Lake Macquarie maintained their spot inside the top five with a 46-26 success against The Waratahs, Merewether Carlton won a high-scoring affair 38-24 against University and Wanderers kept Singleton scoreless in a 43-0 scoreline.