Saturday's Central West Rugby Union didn't quite go to plan for Orange Emus on Saturday, but the club's second grade side is still celebrating a remarkable win.
Catch up with all the action in these links below, as well as the second grade report and photo gallery.
- FIRST GRADE: Bulldogs win Blowes Clothing Cup crown after downing Orange Emus in grand final
- FERGUSON CUP: 'We never give up': Emus gutsy but it's a triple treat for Bulldogs in the big dance
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Hamilton honoured as second grade's best of the best
- THIRD GRADE: Weight of defence cripples Grivas' Greens as third grade crown is Dogs' delight
SECOND GRADE REPORT
ORANGE Emus' determination to play to the final whistle proved key in them claiming the Blowes Clothing Cup second grade grand final in thrilling circumstances.
Two converted tries in the final five minutes allowed Emus to claw their way back in the decider and topple minor premier Bathurst Bulldogs 28-25.
"I was probably pacing around on the sideline thinking our day was done," a very hoarse Emus coach Greg Hedley said of his actions with five minutes left in the game.
"I thought it was a great achievement for us to be in the grand final but to come over here and win and at those odds at the end, it's just an amazing effort by the players."
When Hedley mentions the odds, he is talking about his side trailing 25-14 with seven minutes left in the match after Bulldogs halfback Kurt Weekes kicked his sixth penalty goal of the decider.
Two minutes later Emus earned a penalty close to the line and off the back of a quick tap Keith Howarth was able to charge over. Joel Urban's conversion closed the gap to 25-21.
It would seem this was the sniff Emus needed and with less than three minutes in the game, the men in green were pressuring the Bulldogs line again. This time it was lanky replacement Connor McGoverne who was able to scoop up a loose ball and stroll over.
Urban was there with the extras again to give Emus the lead.
We have some really explosive players and as their guys got tired we were able to cut through the middle and make some ground. I think that's where we did really well.Emus coach Greg Hedley.
All they had to do was hold onto it, which they just managed to do.
Bulldogs coach Pip McIntosh admitted his team simply didn't finish the match the way they needed to.
"It was a great game of footy. The teams went hard at it. Well done to both teams and congratulations to them (Emus), of course," McIntosh said.
"It's a bit heart-breaking but that's footy. To win finals you have to go to the final whistle.
"Scrum was good but I think we wasted advantage with the scrum. To concede four tries in the grand final and only score one, that's pretty disappointing."
The Bulldogs mentor said he was disappointed in his side's defence but praised Weekes' accuracy with the boot for keeping them "in the game".
Weekes deserved the praise.
It's a bit heart-breaking but that's footy. To win finals you have to go to the final whistle.Bulldogs coach Pip McIntosh
The halfback added the extras when Phil Tonkin ran in Bulldogs' only try for the match.
Two more penalties meant Bulldogs were up 16-14 at the break.
Weekes then slotted another three penalties in the second period before Emus launched their comeback.
"We dropped a lot of ball early on and we struggled to get into the grind but when we found our feet, we found our form, we have some really explosive players and as their guys got tired we were able to cut through the middle and make some ground. I think that's where we did really well," Hedley said of his players.
- ORANGE EMUS 28 (Louis Carr, Cody Perrott, Keith Howarth, Connor McGoverne tries, Joel Urban 4 conv) def BATHURST BULLDOGS 25 (Phil Tonkin try, Kurt Weekes conv, 6 pen goals).
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