For the first five minutes and the final 15 minutes at Endeavour Oval on Saturday afternoon Dubbo Kangaroos were, simply, sublime.
They controlled their round 12 Blowes Clothing Cup clash against Orange Emus during that period, throwing the ball around with gay abandon to produce some scintillating passages of play and outscore the defending premiers 17-nil.
The problem for Roos was the other 60 minutes of the game.
During that hour in between their best the visitors' error-riddled and ill-disciplined performance gifted Emus a mountain of possession and with it field position, which the greens gleefully took advantage of to cross for 38 points of their own.
I see real, real potential in this side, we just can't seem to do it for 80 minutes.Stand-in Dubbo Roos skipper Shaun McHugh
"Those periods were good and I see real, real potential in this side, we just can't seem to do it for 80 minutes," Roos' stand-in skipper Mark Baldwin said, he cut a figure of gravitas following the 21-point defeat.
"There was just too many errors and we gave away too many penalties and you just can't do that against a good side like Emus, they'll make you pay, they made us pay."
Baldwin led the side in place of the unavailable Shaun McHugh and he admitted not having his fellow Central West and NSW Country Cockatoos teammate played a big role in his side's performance.
"We did miss Macca. Our lineout didn't function all that well today and that was a big part of it," Baldwin said, with Emus' lineout general Nick Hughes-Clapp pinching four of Roos' throws before being given a break at the 65-minute mark.
"Just in general really we probably lacked a bit of direction and leadership without him, we were a bit all over the place at times so it'll be good to get him back in."
Baldwin went on to admit his side will need to reassess now with three weeks left in the regular season.
Roos remain in fourth, but only narrowly. With Forbes knocking off Cowra the fifth-placed Platypi have slashed the gap to just three points.
"We'll have to go away and have a look at things, like I said I see plenty of potential, we just need some consistency," Baldwin said.
From Emus' perspective, coach Pete Bromley was stoked with the win, looking at it more as a 38-5 victory than 38-17.
"We controlled the game for a large period and they scored a couple of tries there at the end once we'd rolled our whole bench on," Bromley said, the greens' coach girt by his jubilant troops.
"We did that to give a few boys a break but also to give those guys a taste, give them some time on the field in first grade because that could happen in the back end of the season and the finals if there's injuries so we need everyone on the same page.
"They did a good job too, and it was great to see a few guys get some time, someone like Mitch Weekes for example. He's still colts age but has played twos all year and sat on the bench every week, he deserved that chance."
Roos started in perfect fashion, picking up a second minute penalty and crossing through Will Michell immediately. They looked good from the restart too, exiting well and plonking Emus back in their own end.
But the joy didn't last long.
First Nas Havealeta crashed over from a neat lineout move then Charlie Henley finished a strong rolling maul, before Simon Badgery crashed his way over for Emus too.
Sam Greatbatch, Lachie Harris and Carter Hirini all crossed later in the piece as well, and the latter was phenomenal on the wing, as were all three front-rowers.
Roos did wrestle some momentum back in the dying minutes and Tim Beach and Josh Howarth both scored well-earned tries as a result, but the game was gone by then.
Emus remain six points adrift of competition leaders Bathurst Bulldogs, who hammered Orange City for the third time this season, winning 57-5
- ORANGE EMUS 38 (Michael Graham, Charlie Henley, Sam Greatbatch, Lachie Harris, Carter Hirini, Simon Badgery tries; Nigel Staniforth 4 conversions) def DUBBO KANGAROOS 17 (Tim Beach, Will Michell, Josh Howarth tries; Hamish Gordon conversion)
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