IF ever there was a dejected figure in rugby league, Mick Sullivan cut it yesterday afternoon.
Orange CYMS was just seconds away from qualifying for a fourth-straight Group 10 grand final until Orange Hawks centre Brock McGarity booted his side in the decider courtesy of a 12-11 major semi-final triumph at Wade Park.
Sullivan couldn’t look. Either could the wealth of green and gold in the packed Wade Park crowd.
“It is tough to lose like that,” Sullivan said following the loss, CYMS’ third to Hawks this season.
“I think the crowd would have enjoyed it. It was tight the whole way.”
A credit to Hawks’ defence, CYMS should have led by much more than the 4-0 margin they boasted after 37 minutes.
The green and golds enjoyed more than a 50 per cent share of possession for the entire first half, however, time and time again Hawks’ scramble in defence stifled most of Sullivan’s attacking raids.
“It was flat to start with,” he said.
“There might have been a few nerves.
“There were a few breaks early, unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise. They missed a few opportunities as well.
“It was entertaining stuff, end-to-end football.”
CYMS will now be forced to back up and host Lithgow Workies at Wade Park next Sunday.
The winner will go on to tackle Hawks on September 8.
Sullivan was looking forward to a possible re-match with the two blues, citing his side’s first loss in 10 weeks as not ideal but far from the end of the world.
“We haven’t beaten them all year,” Sullivan said of his side’s record versus Hawks in 2013.
“It’ll be nice to get them in the grand final. They’re a quality side. There’s probably only been 10 or 11 points in it all year. It’s tight this year and they keep getting on the right side of it.”