The Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles have earned themselves a valuable away victory, holding out a poor North Sydney Bears outfit 22-6 at North Sydney Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The Bears were early favourites considering the tough start Blacktown have endured this season, but a multitude of handling errors throughout the contest proved costly in a lacklustre performance.
The Sea Eagles were reduced to 11 players after ill-discipline crept into their game in the dying stages of the brutal encounter, but they held strong and ran away with a much-needed victory.
Cameron Cullen put in another strong performance with a hand in two tries, while Darcy Lussick and Shaun Lane proved monumental through the middle-third with some barging runs of their own.
A knock-on from the Bears in their first set gave Blacktown an unlikely opportunity to claim first points, but North Sydney’s defence proved too strong and couldn’t be broken.
Pressure continued to build for the Bears as they made a host of errors coming out of their own end, and Blacktown took full advantage with Kelepi Manu bursting onto a brilliant offload to cross for the first try of the afternoon.
Brimming with confidence, Blacktown continued to roll through the middle with some barging runs from their forwards, and looked likely to score a second try but only for the final pass to be ruled forward.
The resulting set from the Bears showed a few reasons why they have had a successful start to the year, steamrolling their way through the defence with an eventual pin-point kick from Luke Kelly forcing a line dropout.
Both teams were fighting hard to earn themselves a breakthrough try, but it was the Sea Eagles who found themselves on the scoreboard once again with Shaun Lane busting through some poor defence to score his team’s second of the day.
Joey Lussick converted the try to extend the lead to 12 points with just under 20 minutes gone in the game.
Ill-discipline from the Bears was their achilles heel throughout the first 30 minutes with constant errors and penalties gifting Blacktown easy field position – they wasted little time with a perfect grubber finding winger Maliko Filino for their third unanswered try.
Strong carries from Bears fullback Adam Doueihi sparked his team to start their comeback, but they were unable to find a maiden try with the committed Blacktown defence forcing another error.
An unsuccessful penalty goal attempt from the Sea Eagles saw the end of a dominant first half, keeping the Bears scoreless and holding onto a 16-point advantage.
The Bears had a perfect start to the second half with a strong kick-off set resulting in a penalty, and they made no mistake with their chance as a classy back-line movement saw Latrell Robinson cross in the left-hand corner.
Momentum continued to swing as the home side quickly gained some valuable metres, but they were unable to crack the defence as Blacktown continuously held them out.
A break down the right-hand touch line saw the Sea Eagles threaten for another four-pointer and some strong support play from Pita Godinet saw him streak away under the posts for a much-needed try.
Despite the score line, the Bears fought hard with some valiant defensive efforts forcing numerous handling errors, but they were unable to capitalise on their hard work with a handful of clumsy mistakes of their own.
Blacktown were mounting a heap of pressure on the Bears as their defence continued show their residence, ill-discipline from their forwards saw two of their players sin-binned in the final 10 minutes.
The Bears had the perfect chance to redeem themselves with a consolation try, but their handling errors costed them once again and were unable to break-through.
Although down to 11 men, the Sea Eagles proved too strong with a stunning 22-6 victory that will see them mount a potential charge towards the top eight of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 22 (K Manu, J Kennedy, M Filino, P Godinet tries; J Lussick 3 goals) def North Sydney Bears 6 (L Robinson try; E Levido goal)