Red Dogs back in finals contention

West Maitland have put themselves back in the frame for A-grade semi-finals after defeating East Maitland for the second time this season.

West Maitland’s Ben Simon takes on the East Maitland defence with a strong run in his team’s 32-10 win on Saturday.

West Maitland’s Ben Simon takes on the East Maitland defence with a strong run in his team’s 32-10 win on Saturday.

The Red Dogs beat the Griffins 32-10 at Coronation Oval on Saturday following a 16-10 victory against East Maitland in the local derby earlier this year.

The win takes West Maitland to 10 competition points, three behind fifth-placed East Maitland (13) on the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby League ladder.

“That puts us back in the mix for semis,” Red Dogs second-rower Ricky Balcombe said.

“And the next two teams we have coming up aren’t that great so if we can get over them, you never know.”

The run home for West Maitland includes Wallsend Maryland (10), Windale (14), Dudley (19), Shortland (16) and league leaders Belmont Souths (23). 

Balcombe said the Red Dogs’ cause would be helped if they could field a full strength team each week, like the one who played against the Griffins.

“We had a full team on the weekend which helped,” he said.

“Usually there are a few out but everyone was there and they went well.”

The hosts led 12-6 at the main break and then kicked on in the early stages of the second half before the visitors scored a late consolation try.

West Maitland centre Chris Walters crossed for a double while Balcombe, players’ player Shawn Humbles, hooker Trent Davies and replacement Brendan Threadgate all added their name to the score sheet.

Winger James Fraser kicked four goals.

Kade Hardy and Jaylan Connelly were the try scorers for East Maitland while Hardy added the extras on one occasion.

Elsewhere in all age on the weekend winger Jordan Eckford scored 16 points in Thornton Beresfield’s 46-10 win over Stroud in C-grade while Raymond Terrace, Dungog and Paterson River went down to Lambton (22-17), Carrington (29-22) and Waratah Mayfield (68-14) respectively.

And in D-grade halves rivals Ben Trappel and Cameron Davies both scored hat-tricks but it was Clarence Town who won the high-scoring affair with Abermain by 36-32 on Saturday while Will Frost put on half the points in their 40-22 victory against Gloucester and Woodberry were defeated 36-18 by Kotara.


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