Yenda Blueheelers have jumped back to the top of the table after picking up a nail-biting 28-26 win over Black and Whites at Solar Mad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Yenda were able to hit the scoreboard first after Stephen Broome, but a kick into the air which was allowed to bounce by the Panthers defence and Blueheelers co-coach Willie Lolohea was able to get over next to the post.
Chris Latu was able to make a strong break from the following kick off, and it gave Yenda the chance to score two tries in as many sets. It was a chance they didn’t miss as Jack Glyde score his first try of the day.
Ziggy Vincent got across the line 10 minutes to get the Black and Whites back into the game before Glyde scored his second of the game.
A mistake at the back from Yenda just before halftime let the Black and Whites close to within four points as Gospel Toru got across from dummy half.
Yenda struck just after halftime when Tumokai Panapa-Poka scored next to the post before the visitors were reduced to 12 men with Josh Lavemai given a 10-minute break due to a high tackle.
Despite being short in terms of player numbers the Yenda side were able to extend their lead after the Black and Whites failed to wrap up the ball and Broome was able to score next to the post.
Rossi Trimboli and Damien Bell got the Black and Whites to within six points before Broome took the two points from a penalty to extend the Blueheelers lead to eight with 11 minutes to go.
In a moment of madness Vincent was sent to the sin-bin for throwing the ball at Broome, but despite this, the Panthers closed to within two when Toru scored his second.
Yenda gave away a penalty with less than a minute remaining with Bell stepping up looking to bring the sides level. He missed to the left giving the Blueheelers a two-point win.
Yenda’s co-coach Willie Lolohea praised the way his defence stood tall under prolonged periods of pressure.
“We were defending way too much for long amounts of time, and it was taking the wind out of us,” he said.
“A few of the boys couldn't breathe properly, but we pulled through, and that is what a team does I guess.
“I know we let a few tries in off the back of penalties and our own mistakes. Credit to the boys they hung tight and stuck together and got the job done.”
Yenda will be looking to secure the minor premiership when they return home to take on Leeton.
The Black and Whites will face rivals Waratahs as they look to secure their spot in the top five.