Sydney Stars made it three from three in the National Rugby Championship with an entertaining 45-24 win over Perth Spirit at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.
The Stars ran in six tries to three after trailing 16-13 at the break.
Perth Spirit opened the scoring with a try to flanker Al Rovira who backed up a break by winger Onehuna Havili and inside-centre Kyle Godwin. Halfback Ian Prior added the extras for an 8-nil lead.
The Stars hit back with a try to winger John Hale after some excellent phase play, but the Spirit extended their lead with another great try after number eight Richard Hardwick made the break for fullback Albert Nikoro to score. Prior added the extras for a 16-5 lead.
When Perth lost hooker Anaru Rangi to the sin bin the Stars made the most of their opportunities resulting in captain David Hickey scoring off the back of a strong rolling maul. Five-eighth Angus Roberts converted for a 16-13 scoreline.
The Stars opened the second half on fire with centre Tom Carter scoring two minutes after the resumption. Roberts converted for Sydney to take a 21-16 lead, but it was short-lived.
The Spirit replied on the back of a barnstorming run from prop Oliver Hoskins, who beat several defenders before offloading to Nick Jooste, who outpaced the defence to score. Prior converted to take the score to 24-21.
When the Spirit lost fullback Nikoro, who was sent off, the Stars took their opportunities, with fullback Tom Kingston crashing over and Roberts adding the extras for a 29-24 lead.
They extended the lead through tries to Jake Gordon off a break from second-rower Matt Phillip, who soon after crashed over for a five-pointer of his own.
Having accounted for North Harbour Rays 45-29 in Round 1 and Queensland Country 50-40 in Round 2, the Stars head the NRC ladder.
They will meet NSW Country Eagles at Chillingworth Oval, Tamworth, in a Round 4 clash on Saturday.
Sydney Stars 45 (John Hale, David Hickey, Tom Carter, Tom Kingston, Jake Gordon, Matthew Philip tries; Angus Roberts 4 goals, Jordan McGregor goal) defeated Perth 24 (Alex Rovira, Albert Nikoro, Nicholas Jooste tries; Ian Prior 3 goals) at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.