Bathurst St Pat's are back in the winners circle and Jackson Brien is at the forefront.
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That's the round up from Wade Park on Sunday as St Pat's scored a 28-16 win over Orange Hawks with Brien crashing over for two tries.
Featuring at left centre, Brien's wing partner Derryn Clayton also went over along with Zac Merritt causing havoc in the second-row.
With three of its six tries coming on the left, captain-coach Merritt says there's still things to improve on that side.
"We were a little bit frustrated in the first half but it's a work in progress there for me and Jack. I think this is only my third game back, we'll keep working on it and hopefully start connecting up well there," he said.
After losing two in a row to Cowra and Mudgee, Merritt was delighted to see his side present a quality attitude to turn things around.
"We spoke about it this week that we wanted to turn up physically in defence and I thought we did that and it was good to come away with two points," he said.
"I thought we went hard through the middle and that's what we're about this year and then letting our halves dictate terms and we started cracking into second phase today which we haven't had in previous games so it was pretty positive."
Brien crossed for his first try after 11 minutes by breaking through the Hawks defence in the middle and running 70 metres, beating the fullback on the way.
Eight minutes later, Tim Holman was sprinting down the left sideline before he was tackled. Derryn Clayton took the next hit up and found Holman pushing up in support to score and make it 10-0.
After 25 minutes, St Pat's were in again thanks to a brilliant put down from Clayton with the conversion missed.
Right on half-time it was a simple equation of death, taxes and an Alex Prout try scooting from dummy half as the Hawks hooker scored his third try of the season with the score 14-6 at the break.
We wanted to turn up physically in defence and I thought we did that- Bathurst St Pat's captain-coach Zac Merritt
After half-time, Brien crossed for his second, exhibiting too much speed to burn his opposite on the outside 10 metres out.
In the 54th minute, Hawks were back in with a shout as a beautiful inside ball from halfback Matt Boss saw workhorse Nathan Potts crash over to bring Orange within six at 18-12.
Four minutes later though, St Pat's right side got in on the fun with Matthew Ranse scoring in a similar way to Brien's second with the conversion missed again.
Hawks were back in it with seven minutes to go as a Rakai Tuheke try-assist on the left made it 22-16.
Despite, having the ball 30 metres out with a three sets remaining, Hawks came up with an error from brutal St Pat's defence. St Pat's then punished the home side to break through the line with Mitchell Squire scoring in support to seal a 28-16 victory.
Despite holding possession in attacking territory on a number of occasions, Hawks just couldn't find the cherry on top.
Captain Alex Prout said a combination of poor decisions in attack and defence were detrimental.
"We were probably our own worst enemy in defence, those one-on-one tackles cost us and burnt a bit of our energy and when we got into attack we probably weren't patient enough," he said.
"We know what we've done wrong, it's our own errors, it's probably been the same story the last few weeks ... if we fix them we will be competitive through the back end of the year."
For Hawks, Jake Blimka and Deryne McKenzie were notable outs while a neck injury to Lachie Lawson has ruled him out indefinitely.
"We're missing a few middle forwards at the moment so we had a bit of a re-shuffle but at this time of the year that's always going to happen but the boys that jumped in did their job, we're probably just lacking a bit of size," Prout said.
"I think we'll probably be another week without a few of the blokes, we'll have to push through and hopefully after the byes we'll have everyone back on deck.
"We're quite light on from last year so our depth is tested this year but full credit to the reserve grade boys for backing up and putting their foot forward for their club."
While the list of injuries has been disappointing for Hawks, one shining light was the return of hard-working lock Nathan Potts with Prout pleased to have his fellow middle man back.
"He's on of our main men in the middle, he's an 80-minute forward and we missed that last week, it allows us to rotate our bench a bit better so it's always good to have Pottsy back," he said.
ST PAT'S 28 (Jackson Brien 2, Matthew Ranse, Timothy Holman, Derryn Clayton, Mitchell Squire tries; Matt Beattie, Hayden Bolam conversions) defeated ORANGE HAWKS 16 (Alex Prout, Nathan Potts, not available tries; Ryan Manning 2 conversions)
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