CAPTAIN Blake Gallen overcame illness to score the match-winning try for Macquarie as they came back from 14-6 down to end Western Suburbs’ perfect start to the Newcastle Rugby League season 18-14 on Saturday.
On Old Boys’ Day at Peacock Field, Gallen spun out of a tackle on the try line to score in the 69th minute and put the Scorpions ahead for the first time in the round four game.
Hooker Chris Hyde had dived over five minutes earlier to put the Scorpions within reach at 14-12.
Wests captain Ryan Walker had sliced through in the fifth minute to score and Scorpions centre Royce Geoffrey powered over out wide in the 10th minute.
Wests converted a penalty in the 35th minute to go ahead 8-6 before Walker dummied and dived over for his second try to put the visitors up 14-6.
Macquarie coach Adam Bettridge said Hyde and lock Gallen were among plenty of quality performers for his side in the gutsy fight back.
“They stuck to the task and showed plenty of character to come back,” Bettridge said.
“When Walker went over for 14-6, we had a few injuries, so I’m very proud of the boys.
“We really come over the top of them and had the momentum in the second half.
“I thought Hyde was outstanding and our outside backs were great.
“Blake was crook so a lot of guys off the bench and in the pack had to step up to take up the slack because he’s usually an 80-minute player for us.
“Blake had been up spewing all night with food poisoning or something so it was a gallant performance for him to play. He gave his all and came up with the big play when we needed it.
“It wasn’t a polished effort from us but it was really gutsy.”
The win capped a clean sweep of the grades for Macquarie against Wests.
Elsewhere, Kurri Kurri opened their account for the season with a shock 40-4 victory over Maitland at home and Lakes United won 26-16 over defending champions South Newcastle at Cahill Oval.
Mark Walker crossed twice for Kurri in their win, while Lee McClintock and Dean Kouka-Smith grabbed doubles for Lakes.
Also Saturday, the Newcastle Rebels defeated Northern Rivers 34-14 in their Under-23 Country Championships opener. On Sunday, Central Newcastle downed Cessnock 18-10.