Tenterfield Tigers escaped with a win by the skin of their teeth against the Walcha Roos on Saturday.
It was a tight tussle from start to finish, with the lead see-sawing throughout the match.
Tenterfield’s Jarrod McIntosh and Jordan Binge scored in the first-half along with Walcha’s Jack McAlister and Mitch Eveleigh for the Tigers to hold a narrow 10-8 advantage at the half-time break.
Binge brought up a brace in the second stanza before Eveleigh evened the scores.
A penalty goal to Walcha put the hosts in front by two.
With a minute left on the clock the scoreline was still in favour of Walcha at 16-14 but a last grasp try to Tenterfield’s Geoff Swan senior saw the visitors hit the front and claim the win 20-16.
On a sour note for the visiting side, McIntosh was sent off late in the game but captain-coach Brendan Minns was pleased of the way his team hung in to claim the win.
“I would say we had to play 15-20 minutes at the end of the game with 12 men and, as well as that, he [McIntosh] got sin binned in the middle of the game as well,” he said.
“We played a substantial amount of footy with 12 men so that is what I am really proud of.”
While the Tigers held on for the win, Minns applauded the efforts of their opponents.
“We knew we were in for a tough game, credit to Walcha, they never give up,” he said.
“I dead set thought we were beaten, I really did, I thought we were done.
“I didn't think we had it in us to get down and score that last try.
“Their defence, every time we tried to go wide they just had an answer for everything we had.
“Playing them today, it dead set felt like we were playing a top four side.
“I thought today [Saturday] was going to be their first [win] so I am thankful we came away with the win.”
The gritty win sets up a crucial contest for the Tigers against Uralla this Sunday in Tenterfield.
The Uralla side are three points clear in first place on the Group 19 second division table.
The last time the two sides met, Uralla came away with a 22-20 win.
Minns said his side are aware they have to be better than they were against Walcha when they come up against the ladder leaders.
“Not taking anything away from them [Uralla], they are not overly flash but they are just consistent and we have just got to deal with that and hopefully penetrate their line with our speed and our pace and our flair,” he said.
“Hopefully that will get us in a better position in the game.”
Tenterfield will also be wearing commemorative jerseys in honour of late long-time supporter Aub Gillespie.
The jerseys will be auctioned off at the conclusion of the men’s game at the ground and funds will go towards Tenterfield junior rugby league.