Despite having just 10 men on the paddock for the last 34 minutes the Molong Bulls produced an incredible comeback to mark Sunday's return home with a victory, piling on seven tries in that period to trounce Eugowra in a fiery Woodbridge Cup clash punctuated by four send-offs.
After a fight broke out two minutes into the second half Eugowra's Matt Fuller along with Molong's Kade Barrow and Jono Punch were sent off, with Bulls fullback Tory Madden given his marching orders for an apparent headbutt just four minutes later as well.
Eugowra had fought their way to a narrow lead at 8-6 at that point but despite their two-man advantage it was one-way traffic for the last 30 minutes, Molong running rampant to eventually win 46-22.
The Bulls, who'd also lost captain-coach Todd Barrow to injury early in the clash, outscored the Golden Eagles 40-14 in that final half hour, thrilling the sizable crowd that turned out to watch the side's first game at the Dr Ross Memorial Recreation Ground in six years.
The 10-on-12 rout was orchestrated by second-rower Dan Madden, who scored a double and laid on two more as well, with halfback Josh Amberle and winger Edward Twiss both crossing for second-half braces as well.
"Once momentum swung it just all sort of came together I guess, I'm not really sure how else to describe it," Madden, out on his feet after the win, said.
"It was gutsy, that's for sure. The message once we were down to 10 was just to keep our heads up, keep working hard, keep grinding away.
"I'm bloody proud of the boys' efforts though, like I said it was gutsy. We probably shouldn't have been able to do what we did [on Sunday], but we pulled it off."
Madden didn't want to say too much regarding the fight or the send-offs, but admitted they did somewhat mar an otherwise perfect return to their home.
"Yeah, look, that wasn't ideal. I think it all just came from frustration when nothing was going our way but there's definitely no excuses," he said.
Nothing really went either side's way in the 46 minutes before the Bulls' stunning revival, the opening half was a comedy of errors as both outfits struggled to hang on to the ball.
Todd Barrow sliced through in the fourth minute and Kade Barrow slotted the extras to give the hosts an early, 6-nil lead, but Eugowra answered back quickly through Bryce Park's unconverted, seventh-minute four-pointer.
He almost had a second just minutes later but it was disallowed and despite skipper Toby Tanks being sin-binned for dissent at the 21-minute mark Eugowra did score once more in the opening period, Fuller putting fullback Ben Williams over with a lovely double cut-out ball 14 from the break.
But around those tries, both sides bombed a number of opportunities, largely through handling errors or forward passes.
After the initial boilover resulted in a triple send-off Tanks had the opportunity to extend his Golden Eagles' lead to four, but missed his attempted penalty goal.
Momentum was with the visitors though, particularly after Molong went down to 10 with Tory Madden's send-off just minutes later and Tevita Lucas crossed immediately, the score remaining 12-6 after Tanks' shot was waved away.
But that momentum swung, seemingly inexplicably, with Twiss crossing twice and Amberle once in the space of just five minutes after that.
Madden nailed two of his three attempts to, in the blink of an eye, give Molong a 22-12 lead, before crossing in the 60th and 64th minutes.
He nailed one of those conversions and Andrew Drady kicked the other to extend the Bulls' lead to 22 points, before Cody Lang barged his way over from close range in the 70th minute to put the result to bed.
The Golden Eagles scored a couple of consolation tries through Tanks and Dan Lang, but the Bulls had the final say when Amberle darted over in the last 10 seconds, Drady's conversion capping the 24-point win.
The victory keeps Molong unfefeated so far in 2019 as well following their round one win over Condobolin and second-round bye, while it was Eugowra's second defeat of the season.
- MOLONG BULLS 46 (Dan Madden 2, Josh Amberle 2, Edward Twiss 2, Cody Lang, Todd Barrow tries; Madden 3, Andrew Drady 3, Kade Barrow goals) def EUGOWRA GOLDEN EAGLES 22 (Bryce Park, Ben Williams, Tevita Lucas, Toby Tanks, Dan Lang tries; Tanks goal)
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