While Central West's under 14s were taking the rare opportunity to represent their region on home turf at Pride Park, the under-12, under-13 and under-15 Baby Bulls were on the road chasing Positive Rugby Foundation Boys' NSW State Championship glory.
The two latter sides went mighty close to doing just that too, in magnificent efforts.
The under-12 Baby Bulls fell out of title contention with three early losses but finished their campaign with a flourish, downing Sydney University (29-nil), Central Coast (17-12) and then Eastwood (12-7) to finish 13th, while their older counterparts were in the trophy mix right until the end.
The under-13 side ultimately finished sixth and the under-15 outfit came seventh.
The former side, playing at Maitland, were heart-breakingly beaten 13-7 by NSW Country rivals Hunter in the fifth-place play-off, after being soundly defeated by eventual runners-up Victoria (41-6) in the final eight.
While back-to-back defeats to finish sixth may not have been the ideal close, the Baby Bulls' campaign was an excellent one.
They bounced back from a first-up loss to eventual champions ACT (31-12) to down Sydney-based powerhouses Eastwood (17-7) and Southern Districts (15-12) and finish second in their pool.
The under-15 Baby Bulls were also forced to dig deep from defeat at Concord.
After a tournament-opening win over West Harbour (21-7) Central West suffered back-to-back defeats to Eastwood (24-10) and Penrith (26-10), but lifted under pressure to knock off Sydney University 17-5 in the final pool game.
They sneaked into the top eight rankings, but were beaten again by eventual champions Penrith (45-10).
They produced a magnificent performance in their final game of the carnival though, edging out Warringah 7-5 in the seventh-place play-off.
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