Farren Lamb may only be 19 years old but his match-winning field goal in Sunday’s Group 11 grand final has ensured he will go down as a legend at the club.
Lamb was brilliant throughout the decider at a packed Apex Oval, landing multiple conversions from the sideline in the breeze and performing at a level well beyond his years at halfback.
But the moment that mattered came with one minute to go, and his perfect field goal from virtually right in front handed the Magpies a brilliant 23-22 win over the previously undefeated Dubbo CYMS in another all-time classic Group 11 decider.
“All I could hear was ‘Burkey’ (Mitch Burke) saying swing it,” Lamb said post-game.
“But I said no, I’m going it.”
Lamb wasn’t the only one who had tears streaming down his face at full-time, as the Magpies players were swamped by fans from the stands.
The victory marked the second time in three years Forbes had beaten a previously unbeaten CYMS in the grand final after finishing the regular season in fourth.
Even the scoreline was similar to the 2016 decider, the Magpies winning 26-22 that day.
They then led 14-6, the Magpies scoring their first try through eventual Bob Weir medallist Ben Maguire.
Forbes then struck five minutes before the break and that saw them go into the sheds in a positive mood despite trailing by six points.
CYMS were running with the breeze in the second half, which got off to a scrappy start with a number of handling errors. But the Fishies struck first and shot out to a 20-12 lead when Nick Harvey, a standout in a beaten side, crashed over.
But a try to Forbes’ Hayden Bolam on 52 minutes proved the turning point.
HT | Dubbo CYMS goes into the sheds with a 14-12 lead at the break.— Nick Guthrie (@Nj_Guthrie) September 9, 2018
Forbes players run off, CYMS just walking back to the sheds. Both sides had moments on top during that half but late try for the Magpies feels like a really important one.
Grand final is delivering. #Group11
Trying to work the ball out of their own half, CYMS had halfback Bayden Searle attempt a low, bullet-like kick on the last tackle. However, it cannoned into Bolam’s chest and once the hooker realised he’d held it, he raced 55m to score untouched.
From there the tide turned.
Mitch Burke forced a dropout five minutes later and in the next set the five-eighth put in a perfect cross-field kick, resulting in Mosese Qionimacawa beating Pickering to the ball to score his second try of the day.
In one of many clutch moments, Lamb converted from the sidelined to make it 22-20 and give the Magpies the lead for the first time.
Pickering leveled things up with a penalty soon after but that came following another of the game’s big moments, the sin-binning of CYMS lock Lincoln Kavanagh. Kavanagh was given 10 minutes for swearing after a CYMS try was called back for a forward pass.
CYMS struggled to get out of their own half when a man down, and then even still when Kavanagh returned.
Searle kicked out on the full to put the Fishies under more pressure and while that chance came to nothing, the Magpies stayed on the attack.
With only minutes to go, five-eighth Burke put up a towering bomb and teenage CYMS winger Matt Burton, fresh off a defeat in the under 18s grand final, got himself into a poor position and fumbled the ball.
In that ensuing set, Lamb made the moment his own. While Burke wanted to spread the ball and go for the try, Lamb slotted the goal under little pressure.
“I’d back him no matter what,” captain Jake Grace said of Lamb.
“He was happy enough to step up to the mark and he delivered and that’s a big part of his career that he won’t forget.”
The skipper had spoken about the belief in his side all year, and he said his side produced it’s best performance on the biggest stage.
“We’re ecstatic,” he said.
“We just kept gaining momentum the further it went into the season and the self-belief was high and the determination was there.
“CYMS have been outstanding all year and we knew it was going to take our best game to beat them and we did that today. Everyone played unreal.”
The CYMS players were understandably shattered, as a year in which they recorded an unbeaten regular season and victory in the NSW Challenge Cup final came to an end.
CYMS coach Tim Ryan praised his side’s effort but felt things just “didn’t click” for the Fishies.
“They tried their guts out and there was a lot of good tries in there but it just didn’t click,” he said post-game.
“Sometimes we were (in control) and sometimes we weren’t. The charge down kick (from Bolam) was big momentum swing and it was hard to get back from there.
“It’s not good but that’s rugby league. We knew it would be a battle.”
A battle it was with many players nursing knocks at full-time, but that pain mattered little to the Magpies players caught up in the euphoria of another grand final win.
It was a memorable day for the club after victory in the under 18s final as well.
“It’s the same (as 2016),” Grace said.
“Just to win a grand final for Forbes. There’s no better feeling, really. A town like this and a community like this, the amount of people who turned out to cheer in the crowd, it’s what you love.
“If there was no one here supporting then it wouldn’t be as special as what it is and that’s what the Forbes community does.”
- FORBES MAGPIES 23 (Mosese Qionimacawa 2, Ben Maguire, Hayden Bolam tries; Farren Lamb 3 goals, field goal) def DUBBO CYMS 22 (Jyie Chapman, Brad Pickering, Shaquille Gordon Nick Harvey tries; Pickering 3 goals)