It was a family affair as Hamilton delivered Merewether Carlton their first loss of the season, with sisters Lakesha and Nicole Nathan combining for three of the Hawks’ four tries on Saturday afternoon.
Hamilton traveled to Townson Oval and left with a 26-nil victory. Despite the four tries to none finish to the match, however, Hawks coach Gerry Mason thought it was one of the closest his side had played in 2019.
“It was a real arm wrestle, and got really tough and physical as both sides tried to crack open the other,” he said. “I think we were lucky to get some points on the board because both teams were dug really deep in defence. The girls kept putting their bodies on the line against the Greens and not letting them through, it was really impressive.”
Although the Nathan sisters would go on to clinch the game with their triple-try haul, it was that got the Hawks off the mark in their third win of the season. The try, which Candice Clay converted, gave Hamilton a tenuous 7-nil lead at the half to keep their noses ahead against the then-undefeated Merewether Carlton side.
Then Nicole broke the game open with a try halfway through the second half, before Lakesha added her own and Nicole bagged a second to close out the Hawks’ run. While it was a tight game, in the end, Mason believes a key factor in his side’s success has been the “family combinations” appearing across the park.
“It’s good to see those close combinations crop up on the field, we have the Nathan sisters, and then Tammy [Clay] playing alongside her daughter Candice and I think they all got that little bit harder to support each other,” Mason said.
“Especially when Leilani (ruled out over a back injury ahead of kickoff)and Nicole are out on the field together, it’s nearly like they’re reading each others thoughts and know what the other one is going to do. The whole team feeds off that kind of energy.”
The 26-point win over the Greens moves Hamilton into level second with their opponents after the opening four rounds. After losing to the Waratahs in the season opener, the Hawks have won three on the trot and Mason is beginning to turn his attention to keeping that streak alive as 2019 ticks on.
“We were fairly confident we were going to be able to compete with the Greens, but they’re a benchmark team in the competition and were undefeated coming into the match, so to keep them to nil was very, very impressive for the girls,” he said.
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“I told them that at the end of the game, Merewether have so many points in them and to stop them scoring says a lot about our side this year.
“We’re on a run now, and our only loss was against the ‘Tahs when we were still fairly green in the first round. I think we’ve found our pace and we’re starting to build from there, we know what to expect from these players, and what they have to give.
“We have the confidence to go forward now, and we’re looking forward to that next big test against a really strong Uni-Easts side that we have next weekend.”
Also on Saturday afternoon, The Waratahs continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 48-5 win over the travelling Blacks. Maryann Utai and Jessica Church both pounced twice to score, while Tahlia Goldsmith crossed once to add to her four converted goal against Maitland.
TABLE: Waratahs (4-0), Merewether-Carlton, Hamilton (3-1), Easts-University (2-2), Maitland, Medowie (0-4).