Lions' heartbreak in Dubbo: Roos to host grand final after one-point win over Orange City

PARTY TIME: Dubbo players run to celebrate with Blake Sharpe after he scored what turned out to be the match winner on Saturday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

PARTY TIME: Dubbo players run to celebrate with Blake Sharpe after he scored what turned out to be the match winner on Saturday. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

ORANGE City Lions will return to Pride Park this Saturday to try to earn the second berth in this season's Blowes Clothing Cup grand final after Dubbo Kangaroos took the first via a dramatic 20-19 win at No.1 Oval on Saturday.

The game was everything you would expect from a major semi-final.

Kangaroos, the side which has been the best all year, took on the two-time defending champions in a top quality, bruising, edge-of-your-seat clash in Dubbo.

When the final whistle blew it was the Roos who advanced to the grand final after scoring three tries to one to secure victory by the narrowest of margins

James Mata's sideline conversion inside the final ten minutes after a try to teenage winger Blake Sharpe sealed the result, but the win was built on defence, with Orange City battering the Dubbo line for long periods of the second half.

Roos withstood the offensive and a home grand final was a just reward.

Dubbo had opened the scoring in just the third minute when Mata went over in the corner following a typical barnstorming run from star centre Filisione Pauta.

Scott Burgess' conversion attempt was unsuccessful and Mesui Lemoto soon had City on the board when he converted a penalty.

Wade Richardson extended Dubbo's lead in the 15th minute after he darted through a gap 10 metres out when there was seemingly nothing on but a pair of Lemoto penalties had score back to 10-9 approaching the break.

One of the highlights of the match came right on halftime as Orange City flanker Duncan Young nailed an incredible penalty from 52 metres out to give City the lead for the first time at 12-9.

Dubbo, led by the likes of Brad Pugh, Max Ma'a Nelson and James Elliot in the forwards, began the second stanza the better and a Burgess penalty had them back in front.

City kicked for touch numerous times when the received penalties but, despite the best efforts of the impressive Scott Smith, Jake Davis and Lemoto, they couldn't find a way through the Dubbo defence.

After sustained Orange pressure the Roos finally began to work their way out of trouble and some extended time in forward possession led to Sharpe going over in the corner.

Mata had no trouble with the conversion and the Roos looked home at 20-12.

But City wouldn't go away and they set up a grandstand finish when Cameron Cole scored under the posts following a 90-metre break from Lemoto with two minutes to go.

But the Roos hung on, advancing to their first grand final since 2012 and their first at home since 2008.

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