The Waratah Tigers have taken out the Joe Fabris Cup with a 10-point win over rivals Black and Whites on Saturday evening at Exies Oval.
After last week's disappointing loss to the Hay Magpies, Waratahs coach Kose Lelei was pleased with the way his side bounced back.
"Last week everyone was too flat and the way we turned up in that first half I was happy with," he said.
"That is what I spoke about during the week it was focused on starting well and making sure we were the first team to score points."
The Waratahs were able to get out to an early lead with Aistan Fidow able to crash over under the post with just three minutes on the clock, and that was the start of a roll of the home side.
Lelei was able to get over after a strong break from Malie Ngu before Sosaia Ngu made it three unanswered tries for the Waratahs to see them race out to an 18-0 lead with just 13 minutes gone.
The Black and Whites were able to break the momentum, and after a period of sustained pressure on the Waratahs defensive line a pass over the top from Stephen Broome saw Militoni Leweniqila into space and able to score in the corner.
The Waratahs were able to hit back heading into the halftime break after Lelei made a strong break up the middle of the park before passing off to Viliami Ngu who scored under the post to see the home side leading 24-6 after the first 40 minutes.
It was a scrappy start to the first half, and while they were able to hold the Black and Whites out after giving away three successive penalties, a mistake as they were attempting to get out of there own half opened the door Veti Mataa to reduce the gap.
The Waratahs restored their advantage with Malie Ngu scoring in the corner before the Black and Whites tried to mount a late comeback after Broome scored off his chip kick to make it 28-18 with 11 minutes remaining.
That would be as close as the Panthers would get with the Waratahs holding on with Lelei praising the work of his forwards.
"We knew they had a very strong forward pack, and we had to match them in the middle. I thought we did that pretty well, especially in defence in the second half," he said. "We were defending for pretty much the whole half."
While you're with us, did you know that The Area News is now offering sports as part of its growing email newsletter service? Our sports email will keep the sports-mad up-to-date with a round-up of all the weekend's sports action - sign up here.