HAY’S gritty 24-22 win over Yenda has been marred by a spear tackle in the opening half.
In the 14th minute, Yenda’s Tamatatai Miratana was left motionless on the deck after Luke Serevi put the five-eighth in a dangerous position.
Miratana had movement in his arms and legs following the tackle but pain in his neck.
An ambulance was called and play was halted for close to an hour as Miratana was taken to hospital.
At that point, Hay led 6-0 after Serevi charged over from a tap in the opening 10 minutes.
When play resumed, Serevi was swiftly sent off for the dangerous tackle.
It took 15 minutes for another point to be scored as the Magpies wore Yenda down and scored through Ben Taylor.
Hay continued to dominate and turned possession into points with tries to James McLean and Waylon Rickus.
With all conversions successful, Hay held a 24-0 lead at the half-time break.
A half-time serve from co-coaches Michael Mogliotti and Tom Sellars saw Yenda come from the sheds fired up.
Whatever was said worked and Blueheeler flyer Apisai Loaloadravu scored two minutes into the half.
10 minutes later a simple draw and pass put John Lolohea away.
The fullback charged 40 metres to score in the right corner.
By this point, the Magpies looked out on their feet as both benches had been reduced due to injury.
Duane Sykes took advantage of Hay’s tired legs next as he sliced through from 40 metres out and ran away to score.
Then, when Loaloadravu scored his second try for the day with 15 minutes to go, Yenda looked likely to run over the top of the Magpies with the score at 24-22 to Hay.
A bunch of knock ons from either side ate away at the clock in the final 10 minutes as Hay held on in a thrilling finish.
Wakefield said it was a gutsy effort by his side after being reduced to 12 men.
“We were down a few troops, that’s for sure,” Wakefield said.
“The boys just showed a lot of heart today.
“The resilience in the boys [was outstanding]. The ref blew the pea out of the whistle and they just kept digging deep for each other.”