THE Port City Breakers defied a massive injury list to post their first win of the 2016 Group 3 rugby league season on Sunday.
The Breakers won 34-22 over the Macleay Valley Mustangs at Verge Street, Kempsey, to get off the mark.
They knocked over a spirited and talented Mustangs outfit in greasy conditions in which both sides struggled to hold onto the ball.
Nine players were out injured before the match started, and with two more pulling out through unavailability on match day, the Breakers were in dire straits.
They put together a top performance, though, leading 22-10 at the break before going on with it in the second half.
Jake Kelly scored two tries on Sunday. Ben Stewart, Sean Barrett, Josh Bailey, Daniel Dumas and Mitch Turrell also found the line.
Bailey booted three goals.
The Mustangs were an ever-present danger as the match wore on, with Owen Blair Junior leading the way in attack. He scored three tries for the losing side.
Blair could have had a fourth. He broke away down the left side of the Breakers’ defence and chipped into the backfield, but Michael Marshall put his body on the line, diving on the loose ball.
That was the turning point in the second half, according to Breakers coach Digby Murray.
“He scores that, and there would have been only two points in it,” he said.
Shortly after, Turrell dived over in the corner in what proved to be the decisive try.
Murray said his team was drawn away from its game plan at times, and played more like the Mustangs, but the men hung in there and showed their character.
They’ll need to show more of it in coming weeks, with a number of players still more than one round from coming back.
“At least until round four,” Murray said, when asked about when some of his injured troops would return.
Dumas joined that group on Sunday, limping from the field with a foot injury.
The Breakers’ next match is against Wauchope Blues, who are coming off a loss to the Port Sharks.