East Maitland captain coach Brent Dries hailed Sunday’s result as an important win as the Griffins snuck home in a thriller 25-24 over Stockton.
A Dries field goal handed the Griffins the one-point victory, setting up a frantic run to the finals in B-grade with East Maitland sixth after round 15 with 11 points.
The Griffins have two matches in hand because of wash-outs over the other finals contenders and after picking up another vital two points on Sunday are now in a strong position to make the play offs.
Dries was happy with his teams ability to grind out the tight result.
“It certainly was an important win, we have two games in hand now to catch up, so it holds us in good stead for the run home,” Dries said.
“It’s up to us now, if we don’t make it we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.”
Dries was particularly pleased with his teams defence against high flying Stockton.
“Our defence won it for us, definitely,” Dries said.
“We were pretty solid all over the park; they’re a good side, they’re not running second for no reason.”
He nominated Ben Croyle as East Maitland’s best despite spending 10 minutes in the sin bin, while there were also good performances from Josh Day and John Hanson who scored a try and was flawless with the boot kicking four from four.
The Griffins mentor believes his side has what it takes to continue their good form and make the finals despite the difficulties provided by the recent inclement weather.
“Hopefully we can keep the momentum going into the semis, that’s our goal at the moment,” Dries said.
“It’s been hard, we’ve only trained on our ground twice in the last eight weeks.
“We’re a good side, we just need to get the ball in our hands at training because at the moment training at indoor centres and netball courts and wherever you can get a run isn’t ideal.”
Woodberry strengthened their hold on second place in B-grade with a 42-30 win over Dungog, while in A-grade Paterson River thrashed Cardiff 78-12 at Cardiff Oval to stay third.
In D-grade Morpeth smashed Belmont Souths 46-14, Carrington knocked off Clarencetown 40-16, while Abermain defeated Thornton Beresfield 42-12.
The game between Hinton and West Maitland at Hinton Park was washed out.