BATHURST Panthers battled through windy conditions and another physical encounter against the Mudgee Panthers to continue their reign at the top of the Group 10 premier league ladder.
Flying fists, dozens of errors and handfuls of injuries made for a slow game on Sunday at Glen Willow Stadium but the Panthers pulled ahead midway through the second half to win 14-10.
Victory extends the Panthers' winning streak to six matches.
Panthers manager Danny Dwyer said the impressive effort from the Bathurst men when the conditions weren't in their favour proved the difference.
"It was a pretty solid game from both sides. The wind obviously played a big factor across all grades," he said.
"We were able to hold Mudgee to a 6-4 lead at half-time running into that wind. We played well to enable that to happen, completing 17 of 23 sets and 55 per cent of possession.
"That set us up really well to go for the victory in that second half."
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While the Dragons finished up with a tight 14-10 loss, Mudgee's number seven, Jack Beasley says it was nowhere near good enough.
"I wouldn't say it's a positive [to be behind by four points] because we know we can be the leading team, we want to be number one, we've got the squad to do it," he said.
"Any loss is bad for us because we can do better."
Ten minutes after kick-off, Bathurst planted their first try of the day through Louis Murphy, which was followed up by a try to Mudgee's Lee Hicks some 15 minutes later to even the score, until Beasley kicked the goal bringing the red and white to a 6-4 half-time lead.
Not long after returning to the field Bathurst scored their second try of the day, this time through Jack Siejka, to edge ahead.
In between some fiery behaviour and two missed penalty kicks from the Panthers, Hicks went on to score his second of the day, but a try to Bathurst's Kevin Murray secured their round 14 victory.
"It was a grind, there was a lot of drop ball from us, we made it hard for ourselves," Beasley said.
40 | 6-4— Jay-Anna Mobbs (@mobbs_jay) July 14, 2019
The first half of the round 14 clash between the Mudgee Dragons and Bathurst Panthers was littered with penalties and flying fists. Mudgee have the lead.
"They're a team that can capitalise on errors and they're something we gave a lot of.
"We were a bit hot headed, it wasn't just one person, everyone was, and that's discipline, we've got to have a chat about that and errors.
"100 per cent we could have got the win, we are our own worst enemy. We definitely would have gone further if we were a bit smarter."
The Bathurst men hold a share of the lead with Orange Hawks, whose four-point victory over Oberon Tigers on Sunday afternoon maintains the narrow point differential between the clubs at just 10 (with Panthers +119 and Hawks +109).