Hunslet Warriors conceded four tries in the final 10 minutes to go down 42-20 in their National Conference Division One trip to Milford Marlins on Saturday.
The score doesn’t reflect the effort put in by Warriors who led going into the final stages but failed to stop Marlins’ late surge.
Warriors took the lead midway through the first half when Darrell Forster stole the ball and breaks from Caldon Bravo and Brad Gill resulted in man of the match Dave Norton crossing for a try improved by Forster.
Marlins levelled on the half-hour when Macauley Barron touched-down and Ryan Oxtoby added the conversion.
But back came Warriors with Daryl Gaunt’s penalty and they extended the advantage when Bravo powered through to score. Gaunt added the extras to give the visitors a 14-6 half-time lead.
Marlins made the first impression on the scoreboard in the second half courtesy of Tom Wilson’s try and Oxtoby’s conversion.
And Oxtoby was on target again soon after when he kicked a contentious penalty to level the game.
Just as Marlins looked to be in the ascendancy, Hunslet rallied once again to regain the lead when Bravo sent prop Luke Day scampering over the whitewash and Gaunt added the conversion with 20 minutes remaining.
Milford started to increase the pressure and the visitors made a number of errors that allowed the hosts to turn the tables.
Warriors conceded a penalty and Milford took advantage to cross and when the visitors failed to collect a high ball, centre Josh Nathaniel pounced to touch-down, Oxtoby converting to put Marlins ahead.
Rampant Marlins turned the screw in the final eight minutes and ran in three tries from Andy Barker, Zak Snelgrove and Nathaniel, all improved by the boot of Oxtoby.
Despite the result, there are plenty of positives for Warriors to take into their first home game of the season on Saturday when they entertain Ince Rose Bridge.
Dave Norton was impressive and Warriors were boosted by the return of former Morley Borough player Forster, who returned after completing a ban carried over from last year.