The Chiefs had to work hard on Friday to keep their unbeaten record when they beat the Rebels on Friday 27-14.
The scoreline does not really give a true story of the game and most Chiefs players and supporters would have been very worried with 10 minutes to go.
The win means the men from Hamilton return to the top of the New Conference while the Rebels are still languishing at the bottom of the Australian Conference without any points from three matches.
The opening half was characterised by several handling errrors from both sides and both Chiefs goalkicker Damian McKenzie and Reece Hodge of the Rebels missed shots at goal which would have given their side the lead in the opening quarter.
The visitors eventually took the lead, albeit in bizarre fashion when Dominic Bird dotted down after scooping up a loose ball close to the Rebels’ try-line.
The Rebels made a superb start to the second half when, three minutes after the restart, Garden-Bachop glided through a gap in the Chiefs defence before throwing a splendid long pass to Marika Koroibete, who dived over in the left-hand corner.
The Rebels increased their lead 10 minutes later courtesy of another Garden-Bachop and they received a shot in the arm shortly afterwards when Alaimalo was yellow-card for a tip-tackle on Sefa Naivalu.
The Chiefs did well to soak up the pressure on defence during this period and the visitors upped the ante on attack when Alaimalo returned from his spell on the sidelines and were rewarded in the 66th minute when Brodie Retallick barged over from close quarters.
Damian McKenzie’s successful conversion meant they now held a three-point lead but the Rebels drew level when Garden-Bachop slotted his third penalty in the 70th minute.
The Chiefs finished stronger, however, made sure of the win when Cane dotted down after showing great leg strength in the build-up in the 77th minute.
Despite having the game in the bag, the visitors did not stop playing and secured the bonus point when Stevenson rounded off a flowing move in injury time.
Pens: Garden-Bachop 3
Tries: Bird, Retallick, Cane, Stevenson
Cons: McKenzie 2
Yellow Cards: Messam, Alaimalo