Cooks Hill’s five-game undefeated run has come to an end at the hands of Hamilton in a fiery derby match at Oakdale Arena last week.
Tempers flared late as the defending champions played out an 8-4 win over their long-standing rivals, with the umpire having to step in to settle the battle.
Before the late-game clash between a number of players, the match played out like most Cooks Hill-Hamilton clashes – fast-paced and aggressive.
Vice-captain Lewis Foot, centre Caleb Gribble and season-signing Zac Gardner all controlled the mid-court for the Cookers, but a number of high-percentage plays for Hamilton paid off.
A stand-out performance from Alexander McIntyre also silenced his younger brother Benjamin on the other side of the court, keeping Cooks Hills’ captain from impacting the match to a significant degree.
Earlier, Rutherford squared off against Raymond Terrace in the northern match, with the season’s new club running out 14-3 victors in a fast-paced fixture.
Despite the defeat, the Terrace’s Rynell Williams shone, scoring a handful of catches and poaching a number of eliminations.
Later, Waratah nearly stumbled in their pursuit of the top spot finals bye, clawing back a 6-all draw after being down 5-2 at half-time.
Belmont’s Jaimi Bubb and Nic Price had pulled their squad to a commanding lead at the break, but the ‘Tahs knew they needed at least a point to retain the league lead over Hamilton.
Nathaniel King stepped up late to score back-to-back vital round wins for Waratah to level the result and leave Oakdale with a crucial point in hand.
FINALS: Hamilton and Belmont set up grand final rematch (9/11)
RD14: Waratah down Belmont in heated one-set thriller (2/11)
RD13: Shortland oust Hamilton from first with one to go (26/10)
RD12: Belmont upset Hamilton to blow first place race open (19/10)
RD11: Shortland take second after thriller against Belmont (12/10/18)
RD10: Waratah tumble into fourth place after slow start (5/10/18)
RD9: Top four teams hold off finals-hopefuls (28/09/18)
RD8: Hamilton claim first as league celebrates Ladies Day (21/09/18)
RD7: Shortland and Kotara clash goes down to the wire (14/09/18)
RD6: Waratah keep close on Hamilton's heels (07/09/18)
RD5: Hamilton prevail in grand final rematch (30/08/18)
RD4: Belmont tumble into ladder mix with defeat (24/08/18)
RD3: Waratah cuts Shortland's undefeated streak short (17/08/18)
RD2: Shortland break Terrace to continue strong start (10/08/18)
RD1: Waratah open account against long-standing rivals (03/08/18)
PRESEASON: Season 11's draw & key fixtures revealed (19/07/18)
PRESEASON: Registrations now open for NDL Season 11. (13/07/18)
GF: Hamilton extend dynasty with fifth championship (06/07/18)
SF: Belmont punch ticket to season decider with comeback (29/06/18)
QF: Raymond Terrace scores maiden finals victory (22/06/18)
RD15: Waratah confirm second place, first week bye (15/06/18)
RD14: Waratah steady the ship with key three-set win (08/06/18)
RD13: Belmont ensures the Waratah slide continues (01/06/18)
RD12: Cooks Hill and Belmont remain level with draw (25/05/18)
RD11: Waratah lose sight of first place after defeat (18/05/18)
RD10: Raymond Terrace shock Cookers in sudden death (11/05/18)
RD9: Cookers drop 'Tahs to second with 6-5 slug-fest (04/05/18)
RD8: Hamilton take revenge in Battle of Oakdale (27/04/18)
RD7: Bailey best on field as 'Tahs in cruise-control (20/04/18)
RD6: Waratah break three-year hoodoo over old rivals (13/04/18)
RD5: Hamilton reclaim first place with 13-0 masterclass (06/04/18)
RD4: League's closest round sees 'Tahs take top spot (23/03/18)
RD3: Cooks Hill record first point with 5-5 draw (16/03/18)
RD2: Sudden-death deciders see Hamilton pip Belmont (09/03/18)
RD1: Waratah-Hamilton classic ends in 6-all draw (02/03/18)