Orange Hawks forward Nathan Potts says his side is ready to take on Dubbo CYMS in finals after a chaotic 80 minutes at Wade Park on Sunday, August 13.
Hawks beat Bathurst St Pat's 16-4 in a match that featured three head clashes, Saints five-eighth Noah Griffiths being placed on report and halfback Willie Wright being sent from the field for dissent with less than 10 minutes remaining.
Wright had to be escorted by trainers into the change rooms after a verbal altercation between himself and some vocal Hawks supporters.
The ever-busy Potts ran hard all afternoon and helped set up Hawks' third try with a 30-metre line break out of nothing.
The front rower said he was settling back in following several weeks out due to being overseas.
"I'm feeling good, the boys are good, our fitness is where it needs to be," he said.
"Big ups to our boys, we rocked up today. It was a bit scrappy but we move onto next week. Credit to Pat's, they are always tough.
"It took me a while to get back into it, last week hurt me. The first 20 minutes this week hurt me too but it is what it is.
"You keep powering forward for the boys."
Hawks defence holds firm
Despite the final scoreline, Saints dominated the first 20 minutes, enjoying back-to-back-to-back sets on Hawks' try line.
The home side wouldn't break however and marched upfield to open the scoring through Kade Barrow in the 15th minute.
They would repeat the dose for their second by holding Pat's out before capitalising on an error to gain good field position. Fullback Ryan Manning's pin-point kick found Joe Coady in the corner.
Potts said the performance was one of the best he'd seen his team put in.
"In that first 20 minutes it was some of the best footy I've seen Hawks play," he said.
"That defence, it's hard to explain. You work so hard week in, week out and to do it on the field and then march down field 90 metres to score a try, that's what we're all about. That's what we're building to."
Wild second half
Wade Park may have been wet and cold but the heat was turned up after the break with a number of incidents.
Manning was forced off due to a high shot (HIA) and minutes later Griffiths found himself on report for a head high tackle.
Two Saints players, Luke Single and Aaron Mawhinney, were then required to make way after coming together for a nasty head clash.
A try to Ben French in the corner followed and Hawks were home and hosed, although Saints did manage to pull one back thanks to Jordan Boney who backed up after reserve grade.
Pat's will finish fourth after Bathurst Panthers' upset 20-12 win against Mudgee Dragons while Hawks travel north to face Dubbo CYMS.
"It's some of the best defence I've been a part of and we'll take a lot of confidence up to CYMS next week," Potts said,
"They are going to be hard but we like it that way."
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