The Central Newcastle Butcher Boys secured top spot on the Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) ladder following a gripping 24-18 victory over the Macquarie Scorpions at Lyall Peacock Oval on Sunday.
In the NSWRL Denton Cup clash of the round, both teams threw everything at each other in an entertaining fixture.
Central Newcastle grabbed the early advantage when Dom Murphy touched down, which Luke Walsh quickly converted for a 6-0 scoreline.
Macquarie drew level at 6-all in the 27th minute, courtesy of Joe Woodbury and a goal to Kerrod Holland.
But, the Butcher Boys regained the lead just before half-time, via former Newcastle Knight Dylan Phythian. Walsh added the extras for 12-6.
The Scorpions struck back in the 42nd minute when centre Royce Geoffrey dived over to narrow the gap to 12-10.
With first place on the table on the line, Central Newcastle struck two distinct blows in the blink of an eye.
Cameron Anderson (55th minute) and Ethan Campbell (57th), and two Walsh conversions, put the Butcher Boys ahead 24-10.
Macquarie responded through Andrew Sumner (61st), and two goals to Holland, however it wasn’t enough to prevent a loss.
The Cessnock Goannas returned to form with a 32-24 triumph at the expense of the Kurri Kurri Bulldogs in a high-scoring showdown at the Cessnock Sportsground.
The result was never in doubt when the hosts led 24-6 at the break.
Reed Hugo (12th), Liam Foran (20th), Cameron King (24th) and Brent Mendyk (28th) posted tries for the defending premiers, with Adrian Davis converting all of them.
Jarred Anderson was the Bulldogs’ lone tryscorer, with Ethan Niszczot piloting the ball through the uprights.
Kurri Kurri launched a mini comeback as Anderson (58th) dived over again, along with Niszczot (65th) and Kade Hardy (77th).
Niszczot made no mistake with all his shots at goal.
Cessnock’s Sam Apthorpe put the match out of reach late in the fixture.
James Bradley and Perry Le Broque each secured doubles in the Maitland Pickers’ big 40-6 win over the Western Suburbs Rosellas at Harker Oval.
Sam Anderson (10th), James Taylor (13th) and Tom Hughes (68th) also posted four-pointers.
Brock Lamb booted six goals for good measure.
For the Rosellas, Joe Bromage managed to break the defence in the 63rd minute.
The Lakes United Seagulls snared their maiden scalp of 2021, upsetting the South Newcastle Lions 20-12 at Townson Oval.
The visitors stunned the home team, thanks to Shaun Boss (2nd), Matt Cooper (17th) and Jarron Costelloe (30th), to enjoy a 16-0 margin going into the sheds.
The Lions gave their supporters a glimmer of hope when Connor Browne dived over twice to make it 16-12.
However, the Seagulls rose to the occasion on the back of Bradley Calder, who celebrated with a try in the 76th minute.
In the battle of the Central Coast heavyweights, The Entrance Tigers pipped the Wyong Roos 16-14 at Morry Breen Oval.
The Tigers led 14-4 after the opening period but, unfortunately, didn’t trouble the scorer again.
The Roos then stormed home through Zane Rickit (24th, 31st) and Lachlan Hanneghan (7th), with the latter landing two goals.
There will be no Real NRL matches this weekend due to the Tri-Series representative round.
Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL)
2021 NSWRL Denton Cup
Round seven results
Cessnock Goannas 32 (Reed Hugo, Liam Foran, Cameron King, Brent Mendyk, Sam Apthorpe tries; Adrian Davis 6 goals) Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 24 (Jarred Anderson 2, Ethan Niszczot, Kade Hardy tries; Niszczot 4 goals)
Maitland Pickers 40 (James Brady 2, Perry Le Brocque 2, Sam Anderson, James Taylor, Tom Hughes tries; Brock Lamb 6 goals) defeated Western Suburbs Rosellas 6 (Joe Bromage try; Logan Radzievic goal)
Lakes United Seagulls 20 (Shaun Boss, Matt Cooper, Jarron Costelloe, Bradley Calder tries; Joel Edwards 2 goals) defeated South Newcastle Lions 12 (Connor Browne 2 tries; Jason Keelan 2 goals)
Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 24 (Dom Murphy, Dylan Phythian, Cameron Anderson, Ethan Campbell tries; Luke Walsh 4 goals) defeated Macquarie Scorpions 18 (Joe Woodbury, Royce Geoffrey, Andrew Sumner tries; Kerrod Holland 3 goals)
The Entrance Tigers 16 (Max Trueman, Luke Sharpe, Sione Tonga tries; Tonga, Matthew Killick goals) defeated Wyong Roos 14 (Zane Rickit 2, Lachlan Hanneghan tries; Hanneghan goal)