It wasn't their best performance of the season - not by a long shot - but the Clarence Town Cobras managed to overcome a lacklustre first half to run out comfortable 42-26 winners over Tea Gardens on Sunday.
It was a classic case of "winning ugly" but they will need to be better against Stroud in what should be a cracking game this weekend.
Down on numbers and a lack of commitment to tackles seemed to be the problem for the Clarence Town Cobras in a lacklustre first half performance against an enthusiastic Tea Gardens last Sunday at Myall Park.
The Cobras missed several one on one tackles and at times surrendered possession on early tackles.
Claro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when the Breckelman brothers combined with a clever kick for Trai to score out wide. A nice conversion from Badior had the Cobras ahead 6-0.
Five minutes later a simple missed tackle enabled Tea Gardens to hit back with a converted try. Shortly after that front rower Cal Gorman left the field with a suspected achilles injury and the Hawks were in again to lead 12-6.
At this stage Claro looked vulnerable and the Hawks side had all the momentum.
Fullback Trai Breckelmans gave the Cobras a lift when he split the defence and gave a lovely inside ball to halfback Jarrod Marks to race away and score under the posts to tie the game up. Soon after his brother Aiden slipped a beautiful ball to Dunn who offloaded brilliantly going to ground for Trai to back up and score a fantastic try to put Claro back in front 18-12.
The Hawks to hit back with a try right on the halftime siren and after a horrible missed conversion from in front the Cobras went to the break in front at 18-16.
Claro found themselves under pressure early in the second half and Tea Gardens strolled over out wide after creating a three man overlap. The try was unconverted but the home side were back in front at 20-18.
After missing the first half, the injection of halfback Birch for the Cobras had immediate dividends when he scored to put the Cobras back in front at 24-20 and almost immediately after he hit a barnstorming Sam Dunn with a lovely flat pass for him to burst over and stretch the lead to 30-20.
Dunn's try was a fitting reward for his relentless workload in both attack and defence the entire game.
Midway through the half winger Rob Elliott crashed over in the corner to put Claro further in front at 34-20. But a bumbling attempt to defuse the kick restart resulted in a knock on and after handing over possession, Tea Gardens scored to reduce the margin to 34-26.
The revival was short lived, Foot combined with his inside backs to score with seven minutes to go and then Birch sealed the win with a second try to complete the scoring at 46-26.
They say winning ugly is an asset - but they will want to be on their game next week in what should be a great match against the Stroud Raiders next Sunday at Clarence Town, 2pm.
Best Back: Trai Breckelmans; Forward: Sam Dunn; Supporters: Michael Peacock; Benchy: Lachlan Jones; Players Player: Sam Dunn.
Clarence Town ladies showed enormous courage in their 30-nil loss to an experienced Shortland team. Only three games ago the Devils handed the Claro ladies a 72-0 thumping and it is wonderful to watch the improvement in this hard working squad.
Emily Fortunaso-Klocker continued her fantastic form getting through a mountain of work coming up with several amazing last ditch tags. She was well supported by new recruit April Taleski Williams. Next game is at home against Stroud on Sunday, 1pm. Awards Points: 3. Emily Fortunaso-Klocker 2. Elizabeth Papamau 1. April Taleski-Williams. Players Player: Emily Fortunaso-Klocker