For the third straight season the Maitland Pickers have escaped with a narrow and dramatic victory against the Wyong Roos.
The two-time defending premiers claimed a 14-12 win on Saturday evening with a last minute penalty goal to halfback Jade Porter splitting the deadlock at Morry Breen Oval.
This follows on from Porter’s field goal heroics at Maitland Sportsground last year when the Newcastle representative potted a one-pointer from 40 metres out after the siren for a 15-14 triumph.
And in 2010 it was the same score as the weekend’s success with a 14-12 result at home in round four against the then defending champions.
But even more satisfying for the Pickers was the win at the Central Coast venue, their first since re-entering the top grade competition in 2009.
It also consolidates the Pickers’ top five position in the Newcastle Rugby League competition for 2012.
Both teams scored two tries in the round 10 clash but it was Maitland that struck first from the kick-off with Billy Towers crossing for the Pickers in the opeing 30 seconds.
The Roos held a 12-6 advantage at half-time but the visitors levelled proceedings through a converted try to Porter midway through the second half.
Porter’s 80th minute penalty goal from 15 metres out in front of the uprights sealed the sweet but bruising affair.
“That was the most physical game we have played this year, by far,” Pickers coach Ron Griffiths said.
Porter was best for the Pickers, closely followed by prop Eni Folau.
The two vital competition points sees Maitland stay fourth on the table on 12 points, two behind the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs and Macquarie Scorpions in equal second, while Wyong stay eighth.
The Pickers will have the chance to join Macquarie next weekend when the sides meet at Peacock Field on Sunday afternoon.