ORANGE CYMS have come from behind to beat a determined Orange Hawks 28-22 in the second Group 10 derby of the 2012 season.
The two sides turned it on for the parochial crowd at Wade Park on Saturday, going toe-to-toe in a cracking opening 40 minutes which eventually saw Hawks jump out to a 14-4 lead built on dominant defence and a strong completion rate.
However, the second stanza belonged to CYMS.
On the back of a half-time spray from player-coach Mick Sullivan, the two-time defending premiers exploded in the 10 minutes after half-time, with tries to Sullivan and Josh Nixon putting the green and golds in front for the first time 16-14.
A converted try to Epa Navale soon had CYMS up 22-14.
Hawks were stunned.
To get back into the clash, it was going to take something special.
They got just that from Joe Lasagavibau.
Out of nothing, the electric Hawks fullback, playing in just his fourth game of 2012, brushed off two would-be CYMS defenders and ducked, dodged and weaved his way past what seemed like another eight to go over and score under the posts.
It brought the score back to 22-20.
And with 20 minutes remaining, Lasagavibau’s solo effort brought Hawks, and the two blues faithful at Wade Park, back into the contest.
From that point, both sides traded end-to-end attacking raids, but it wasn’t until Sullivan conceded a penalty right in front of the sticks and Brock McGarity booted his third goal for the afternoon that the scoreboard changed.
At 22-all, Hawks had all of the momentum.
They weathered the CYMS onslaught immediately after half-time and fought back to bring the game level inside the final 10 minutes.
Hawks were winning the territorial battle.
They were hitting hard in defence.
Everything seemed to be working towards a memorable win, what would have been just the club’s fourth derby triumph out of the last 14 all-Orange Group 10 games played.
But it wasn’t to be.
CYMS, as any champion team does, rose when it mattered most.
On his return from injury, Group 10 half Claude Gordon threw a deft short ball to a flying Dom Maley on CYMS’ own 40 metre line.
Maley was away, drew Lasagavibau and sent young winger Cody Robbins over for the match winning try in the 74th minute.
Sam Hill converted to make it 28-22.
Hawks had their chance to score in the dying stages, however, poor options under pressure saw CYMS come away with a memorable win and secure a place in Group 10’s top three.
But Sullivan knows just how hard his side was made to work for it.
“We piled some points on (after half-time) which is a credit to the boys. They really responded. But that’s the hardest derby I’ve been involved in and if teams aren’t looking over their shoulder, they should be,” Sullivan said.
Hawks can count themselves unlucky.
The two blues had three tries disallowed for forward passes - one clear-cut but the other two marginal - throughout the 80 minutes.
Centre Brock McGarity was also held up in the first two minutes of the clash.
Hawks player-coach James Wynne, though, refused to make any excuses.
“We’re getting used to it now, we seem to cop them every week but you know what footy is like, you make your own luck and when everything is going well those kinds of passes stick and we get the decisions go our way,” Wynne said.
“We’re not complaining, they’re the yardstick of the comp and as every one can see, we’re not far off.”
ORANGE CYMS 28 (Josh Nixon, Mick Sullivan, Cody Robbins, Dom Maley, Epa Navale tries; Sam Hill 4 goals) def ORANGE HAWKS 22 (Joe Lasagavibau 2, Billy Baleilomaloma, Lachlan Sturgeon tries; Brock McGarity 3 goals).