THE last time Bathurst Panthers met Mudgee Dragons in Group 10 premier league the game slowed down to one of the most stop-start, grinding affairs of the season.
While Panthers got the win in that May meeting at Carrington Park, 23-20, it's a style of play they're aiming to stay well clear of when they travel to play the Dragons this Sunday.
Panthers went well away from their game plan in the second term of May's matchup and almost cancelled out what had been one of their most flawless first halves of football this season.
They met on that occasion as undefeated sides but now Panthers hold a four point break over the Dragons.
Mudgee will be fighting to keep their shrinking hopes of a top two spot intact and Panthers player-coach Doug Hewitt expects another close game.
"Mudgee is one of the games we've really been looking forward to," he said.
"They're sitting where we thought they would be. When they recruited a lot of blokes into that team it was kind of a 'wait and see' case and we thought, in another open competition, they'd be right up there among the front runners.
"They're very dangerous and can quickly put on a score against any team."
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Panthers had to survive another second half fightback from an opponent during last round's narrow win over Orange CYMS.
The men in black's defence was strong enough to withstand the attack but Hewitt knows that sort of inconsistency can't become a regular feature of the Panthers' game.
"It's just our completions. We've had games where we've completed at over 90 per cent and they're the games where we've been running away with it," he said.
"Playing the simple game and brand of footy takes us a long way towards winning."
Helping the consistency cause is the fact Panthers will be fielding the same 1 through 13 at Glen Willow Stadium as their game against CYMS.