Group 20 rugby league
THE Griffith Black and Whites have fallen to equal bottom of the Group 20 ladder after Leeton broke through to record an upset nine-point win on Saturday night.
Pouncing for their first win of the year, the previously unfancied Greens won 41-32 at EW Moore Oval to extend Griffith's worrying losing streak to five straight games.
Thirteen tries were recorded in a high-scoring affair but Leeton - last year's minor premiers - held sway for the majority of the contest.
The visitors led 38-14 with 15 minutes remaining before the Black and Whites fought back to trail by six points.
But Group 20 representative halfback Clint Halden calmly slotted a field goal in the 76th minute and then kicked a penalty goal to put the result beyond doubt.
Relieved Leeton captain-coach Franky Fiumara said Halden's one-pointer was a "bit scabby" but he was more than satisfied with the outcome.
"It wasn't a great win, but it was very pleasing," he said.
"I think they (Griffith) thought we might be easier, but we know they go alright... we didn't take them lightly."
The result sees the Black and Whites slip to eighth on the Group 20 ladder, just ahead of the winless Bidgee Hurricanes.
Fiumara said the performance was an example of what Leeton can do when at their best.
"I feel like it's all coming together," he said.
"Like I said at the start of the year, I knew it would take time to come together."
However, Fiumara said the Greens still had plenty of room for improvement and would continue to train hard this week
Leeton burst out of the blocks early and was able to establish a 22-14 advantage at half-time.
The visitors continued to impress and scored unanswered three tries in the 25-minute period after the break.
The Black and Whites finally found their groove to hit back with three swift tries but Leeton held on, mainly thanks to the calm head of former NRL star Halden.
Fiumara said the Greens were well led by forwards PJ Asiata, Andrew Lavaka, Sam Finefeuaki and centre Jeremy Panuccio.
Panuccio crossed for two tries and his teammates Kolo Lomu, Halden, Asiata and Ben Evans all scored four-pointers.
Prop David Uasila registered a hat trick for Griffith while Kelvin Simpson, Shane Makea and Clinton Lilo scored one apiece.
Black and Whites captain-coach David Milne made his return from a hamstring injury, lining up in the No.7 jersey, but he was powerless to stop the Greens from making their march.
Milne's men will need to shape up this week with a daunting trip to Darlington Point on the cards - the resurgent Roosters are fresh off the bye and are expected to hand a starting debut to another former NRL player, Ryan McGoldrick, who flew home from England last week.