There's just something about football in the Central West at the moment.
And on Saturday afternoon, the Tigers were back in extra-time at Tom Clyburn Oval against Manildra Rhinos but it wasn't their day as the away side booked its spot in the Woodbridge Cup grand final with a 28-26 victory.
Pre-game, Rhinos captain-coach Luke Petrie spoke about an 80-minute performance, but he wouldn't have accounted for his side's 90-minute performance.
And understandably, the emotional skipper was lost for words.
"We made it so hard on ourselves but this team is just full of heart, it showed at the end there, they just dug in. I can't believe it, it's unreal," he said.
Canowindra were first to go over after seven minutes with fullback Jayden Brown channeling his inner AFL player to jump over Manildra's players and score from a cross-field Danny Matthews kick.
The Rhinos showed why they've been so strong throughout the year, going from 6-0 down to 14-6 after half an hour. Sia Nemani was unstoppable in the early exchanges, scoring off a short ball and then making a break that lead to Ben Sharpless scoring. Ben McAlpine had his side's third after a Jake Mullins kick found winger Nick Smith who offloaded to the centre to score in the corner.
Canowindra kept proceedings interesting with Brown breaking away from tackles to Jonico Hardwick over at half-time as they trailed 14-12.
The ten minutes following half-time was some of the best rugby league you'd see anywhere in the bush.
The two sides went set for set with every single one completed and every tackle as intense as the other.
In the 51st minute, Brown probably became the first man to perform a 40m kick return off a McAlpine kick to put his side into attacking territory. The fullback then grubbered to winger Frazer Ryder on the last tackle for a try as Canowindra hit a 16-14 lead.
Seven minutes later McAlpine would have his second, pushing up in support off a Tom Rath break through the middle as the lead changed again to 20-16. To add more intrigue, Canowindra had a try disallowed the set before after a knock on in the in goal.
With 10 minutes later, Tigers captain Ronny Lawrence does what he does best, muscling his way over close to the line to put the Tigers ahead 22-20.
A high tackle in front of the posts with five minutes left would gift Manildra the chance to equal with Jayden Fahey converting the penalty.
The drama didn't stop though. Manildra then dropped the ball off the kick off to give Canowindra a massive chance, however the Tigers then dropped the ball at the scrum.
Full-time would blow later at 22-22 with 10-minutes of extra-time ahead.
McAlpine was the man for his side in the first half of extra-time, as Manildra spread the ball on the last at halfway. A break down the right found the centre in support who secured his hat-trick at 28-22.
The game wasn't over though. A regulation kick from Brown forced the Rhinos to step out and give Canowindra a chance, 10 metres out.
Hooker Callum Clyburn took the chance, scooting from dummy-half to make it 28-26.
Unfortunately, a conversion attempt from Nic Barlow was hooked to the left, delivering Manildra victory and a trip to Grenfell for the grand final.
Petrie was full of praise for hat-trick hero McAlpine after a seriously impressive performance.
"He missed a couple of goals early but was very ice for us in the end, even Jayden Fahey stepped up for us as well and took that last conversion when Pine had an injury, it was just unreal," he said.
Canowindra coach Kevin Grimshaw was also complimentary of McAlpine.
"He did it on one leg really," he said.
The Manildra skipper added if his side's mindset is right they could be on their way to glory.
"If we get our right attitude we'll go a long way to winning games, we've just got to get that right and if we take out those little mistakes then I think we'll be in a good spot," he said.
Grimshaw was understandably dejected after another extra-time ordeal.
"It's hard, they're hurting but I'd be disappointed if they weren't hurting, we had an opportunity and didn't capitalise," he said.
"Manildra played well, I thought it was a good game, it could've went either way.
"We've had a good year, it's a shame it finished up one short but I can't fault the effort by them."
- Manildra Rhinos 28 (Ben McAlpine 3, Ben Sharpless, Sia Nemani tries; Jayden Fahey 2, Ben McAlpine conversions; Jayden Fahey penalty goal) defeated Canowindra Tigers 26 (Jayden Brown, Frazer Ryder, Jonico Hardwick, Callum Clyburn, Ronnie Lawrence tries; Nic Barlow 2, Danny Matthews conversions)