A GUTSY Thirroul handed reigning premiers Dapto a 12-10 defeat in a brutal affair at Gibson Park on Saturday.
The match ended two tries apiece but the Butchers twice had to overhaul a deficit with prop Rhys Kennedy’s try 12 minutes from time snatching a two-point lead the hosts were able to defend to the siren.
It was the first regular season defeat of Dapto coach Michael Henderson's tenure at the Canaries and came without star halfback Beau Henry who had a personal commitment.
After letting a similar two-point lead slip in a narrow loss to Collegians in their previous outing, Butchers coach Jarrod Costello was happy to see his side close out the win.
“We learned some lessons from what we did against Collies,” Costello said.
“We didn’t concentrate sufficiently that day and let them back into the game but today we were able to scramble on our try-line, get some metres in yardage when we needed to and finish it off.
“It was certainly the best we’ve played this year, and probably both years I’ve been here, in regards to our effort and the way we turned up for each other and defended our try-line.
“They scored two tries that both came from kicks so for us to defend our try-line like that against the premiers was outstanding. It should give us some confidence moving forward having that win under our belt.
“We had 10 local juniors in our 17 as well so as a local coach I was really proud to have that many local blokes out there and get a win over the premiers.”
The visitors scored first with Josh Bryant producing an acrobatic effort to reel in a kick from Freddie Robinson and plant it just inside the touch-in-goal line.
Jason Raper’s conversion attempt was waved away and the Butchers took a 6-4 lead into halftime with Jay Gallagher landing a sideline conversion after Daniel Perkins crossed out wide.
The bruising encounter developed into a war of attrition in the second stanza before Raper re-took the lead for the visitors after Butchers fullback Hayden Crosland fumbled a Troy Pieper bomb.
The Canaries looked likely to stretch the lead on numerous occasions only to be denied by some desperate Butchers defence with Kennedy’s barge-over effort at other end proved the match-winner.
Dapto coach Henderson will welcome the return of Henry for this week’s clash with Collegians, but could take nothing away from the Butchers.
“It was a tough game, very physical, the Butchers had obviously come to play and we did to,” Henderson said.
“Errors just cost us, we made far too many. They had a big powerful side and we gave them the ball. We probably did well not to be further behind in the end but credit to our boys for hanging in there and credit to the Butchers they were tough today.”
The results sets up a monster clash between Thirroul and Wests this weekend while Dapto will look to bounce back against Collegians who remain unbeaten after a 50-4 win over Berkeley on Saturday.