Orange City’s second grade side have put paid to the notion that safety first is the only avenue to grand final glory.
The Lions overcame a spirited Bathurst Bulldogs side 20-15 at Pride Park on Saturday.
Trailing for the vast majority of the game, the Lions chanced their hand to great effect to stay in reach.
That they were then able to prevail says as much about their willingness to back themselves as it does their resolve.
Trailing 10-3 in the shadows of half time, the Lions were awarded a penalty 10 metres out from the Bulldogs line, right in front of the sticks.
With the easiest of three points on offer, the home side gambled on a scrum.
And it paid dividends.
Fly-half Baden Curran switched to a massive blind side, linking up with fullback Sam Coote, who sent Anthony Salmon over in the corner.
Salmon missed the conversion, but the Lions still went to the sheds with the momentum, despite Bulldogs having had the better of the first 40 minutes.
Bulldogs Ray Lange had opened the scoring with a penalty in the 15th minute, his effort cancelled out by a strike by Fisher soon after the restart.
But a flowing backline passage from Bulldogs just moments later, finished by winger Chris Porter, saw the visitors take the lead.
Lange piloted the conversion over from the sideline to extend the advantage.
The Bathurst side began the second half in a similar vein, with winger Ben Sheppeard chipping over the top after a break and recollecting to cross the stripe.
Down 15-8, but with Bulldogs No.8 Izaak Breen sin-binned for a spear tackle, the Lions looked to attack.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Brad Cleal put Coote through a yawning hole, the fullback maintaining his composure as he drew Bulldogs fullback Harry Phillips and sent Taylor Smith in out wide.
Salmon showed nerves of steel to convert from a difficult angle and ensure a grandstand finish.
With just five minutes remaining, Lions No8 Adam Harrison barged his way through the first line of defence before weaving around the cover to secure the premiership.
Cleal, co-coach of the City side with scrum-half Anthony Kent, paid credit to the effort of his forwards.
“Our pack was just outstanding,” he said.
“We knew their strength was in the forwards, it has been all year. So to match them today was great.”
Cleal’s father, David, who manages the team, agreed with his son.
“The set piece was fantastic, and that comes back to the forwards,” he said.
“That platform really helped us to spread the ball wide and grab our points.”
Bulldogs coach Michael Lund refused to be downbeat.
“They deserve to be champions. They’re a quality side,” he said.
“The bounce of the ball didn’t go our way today, there’s not too much you can do about it.”
Coote was a standout for the winners, injecting himself to play a key hand in two of their three tries, with Sheridan and Nathan Wilcox providing inspiration with their heavy defence.
For the Bulldogs, Breen proved a massive handful with the ball, while Porter and Lange showed their class across the paddock.
ORANGE CITY 20 (Anthony Salmon, Taylor Smith, Adam Harrison tries, Salmon conv, Salmon pen) def DUBBO ROOS 15 (Chris Porter, Ben Sheppeard tries, Ray Lange con, Lange pen).