BATHURST Panthers breathed life into their ailing Group 10 premier league season on Sunday, bringing Mudgee’s 10-match winning streak to an end at Carrington Park with a 34-12 upset.
It was inevitable that sooner or later Mudgee’s brilliant run would come to an end, something their captain Jared Robinson acknowledged afterwards.
“This day was going to come at some point, it is pretty hard to go through a whole season undefeated,” he said.
“In a way it lifts a lot of the pressure, we can go back now and start again, get some wins under the belt and build for the semi-finals.
“They just out-enthused us right from the first set of six.”
Luke Carpenter gave a sign of what was to follow when a show-and-go from dummy-half saw him run 50 metres to score Panthers’ first after five minutes.
At the 25-minute mark centre Corin Smith crossed and Tom Lewsley’s conversion gave Mudgee a 6-4 lead.
From the next set of six, Mudgee coughed up possession and Matt Rose made them pay as he strolled through some flimsy defence. Five minutes from half-time Jed Betts dived on a grubber from brother Jake, with Blake Lawson’s conversion giving Panthers a 16-6 lead at the break.
Mitch Davis crossed for Panthers’ fourth early in the second period, and Blake Dean extended the host’s lead just minutes after with a four pointer of his own.
Despite Smith scoring again for Mudgee the result was all but guaranteed when former Orange CYMS star Cody Robbins crossed for the hosts.
“I’m over the moon, we’ve been building towards this but we have always lost these games where we played well in patches and took it to the good sides,” Panthers’ pivot Matt Rose said.
BATHURST PANTHERS 34 (Cody Robbins 2, Mitch Davis, Matt Rose, Luke Carpenter, Mike Ingwersen, Blake Dean tries; Blake Lawson 3 goals) def MUDGEE DRAGONS 12 (Corin Smith 2 tries; Tom Lewsley goal, Josh Crowe goal).