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IT was the sort of moment that could define or ruin a season and fortunately for CSU it didn’t end up being the latter.
The Bathurst side registered their first win of the Central West Rugby Union season against Forbes on Saturday in thrilling circumstances.
With regular sharpshooter Jack Garrad missing with injury, replacement kicker Dan Cullinane piloted a penalty through the sticks at Forbes’ Grinsted Oval to earn his team an 11-10 heart-stopper. Even the manner of his kick was dramatic.
After the home side infringed in the dying seconds, full-time had blown as the speedster lined up his kick.
It had the direction, but in swirling wind it did not look going to sail through. However, the ball unbelievably came down on the crossbar before dropping over on the favoured side for the students to break their duck in 2013.
A relieved coach Luke Costello praised his team for taking the result in a tough away trip without six of their stars who were missing through injury and representative commitments.
“It was a pretty good feeling I can tell you, the boys are pretty relieved after that,” he said.
“Everyone that came into that side stepped up, some got injuries during the game and we were pretty spent by the end of it, but we played it out for the full 80 minutes.
“It is great to get that monkey off the back after three pretty tough games to open the year.”
It was a dour affair in Forbes, who’s side produced one of the upsets of 2012 when they defeated CSU at University Oval.
Much has changed since then and the students were coming off three hidings against Bulldogs, Dubbo Kangaroos and Orange City.
The first half didn’t see much in the way of attacking football and Cullinane’s first penalty was the only time the scorekeeper had to lift a finger during the opening 40 minutes.
The Platypi levelled early in the second stanza and then went out to a 10-3 lead with a converted try while CSU winger Daniel Ross-Hopkins had a try disallowed before he scored the Bathurst team’s only try of the day.
The kick was wide and left the game poised for a cliffhanger finish.
Afterwards Costello praised his side’s attitude.
“Our defence was great, we just tackled and tackled ourselves into the ground the whole game,” the mentor said.
“We knew that Forbes’ pack was going to be a major strength of theirs, but we managed to go alright up front and handled them fairly well. There was a big wind for most of the game which made things difficult at times.
“Forbes are a good club and it is hard to see any team lose in that sort of situation, going down by a point on the siren, but I’m glad we got the win.
“It is only one game, but a loss there would have made things very difficult for the rest of the season. We’ve got Narromine and Parkes in the next two weeks who will both be hard to beat, but we’re back at home and it is good to be going into those games with a win under our belt.”
CSU 11 (Daniel Ross-Hopkins try; Dan Cullinane 2 penalties) defeated FORBES 10
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