Orange Hawks shrugged off the previous week's defeat to Mudgee to return to the Group 10 premier league winners' circle at Oberon Sportsground on Sunday afternoon, downing the Tigers by just two points in a thrilling and equally as brutal encounter.
It was a come-from-behind win and one ultimately secured in rare circumstances too, with stand-in fullback Duncan Young booting back-to-back penalty goals in the shadows of full-time to seal it.
Hawks crossed twice in the opening period to lead the Tigers 10-6 although that margin could've been more.
Oberon captain-coach Josh Starling spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin during the first half but in that period his side lifted, not conceding while their inspirational leader was sidelined.
I've had a groin injury from the start and Duncan's got a very good, accurate boot ... so I was always going to trust his goal-kicking.Hawks captain-coach Willie Heta on sharpshooter Duncan Young
The Tigers struck after the break to equalise and then Farren Lamb kicked a penalty of his own to give them a 12-10 lead with half an hour to go.
Then Young, a known sharpshooter across both rugby codes, was given the chance to equalise at the 64-minute mark which he took gleefully, before being handed another opportunity for a go-ahead goal six minutes out from full-time.
Again, he nailed it, and the two blues held on to complete an epic victory.
"There was never any second thoughts about taking the penalty goals," Hawks captain-coach Willie Heta said, also explaining why Young has been given the kicking duties this year.
"I've had a groin injury from the start and Duncan's got a very good, accurate boot and one that can go a long way too, so I was always going to trust his goal-kicking.
"He obviously proved why we should too, because he's stepped up twice in big moments, in a big game."
Sunday's trip also brought an end to Hawks' nightmare run of road trips to start 2019, the two blues will finally play their first game at home against Bathurst Panthers next week.
Considering that, the fact they've run through the first five weeks dropping just one game is all the more impressive, and isn't lost on Heta either.
"I said before the game how tough it would be going up to Oberon and the game definitely showed that, it's been tough with so many road trips but we're in a pretty good position now," he said, his two blues sitting third. They're in a share for second, but Mudgee push ahead on points difference.
"We're really pleased to get away with the win from that one, especially after last week's loss to Mudgee."
Jordan Baker opened the scoring for Hawks at Oberon Sportsground and after Young missed that conversion Lamb did the same after the Tigers crossed at the 26-minute mark.
Matt Boss gave Hawks the lead again with his 36th minute four-pointer, which Young successfully converted for a 10-6 lead, which the two blues carried until just after half-time.
Oberon equalised through Tye Siakisoni just three minutes into the new half and then Lamb gave his side a two-point lead nine minutes later.
But Young made his presence felt in the clutch, kicking his side to victory.
- ORANGE HAWKS 14 (Jordan Baker, Matt Boss tries; Duncan Young goal, 2 penalty goals) def OBERON TIGERS 12 (Tye Siakisoni, unknown tries; Farren Lamb goal, penalty goal)
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