"IT was of one of those games".
That is how Western Rams five-eighth Mitch Burke described Saturday afternoon at Dubbo's Apex Oval as he and his team-mates suffered a 28-10 Presidents Cup defeat at the hands of Dubbo CYMS.
The loss marked the first time a club side had downed the regional representative team in the competition but, more painful than that, is it leaves the Rams rooted to the bottom of the Presidents Cup ladder without a win after three rounds.
While there was plenty to like about the individual and overall performances of the hosts, it was another frustrating afternoon for the Rams.
"We just came out after half-time and shut up shop, really," Burke said, bluntly.
"Line speed was rubbish and I don't know what happened. It was one of those games."
It was a much different mood in the Fishies camp as they got their campaign up and running.
"It's awesome," captain-coach Jarryn Powyer said.
"We had a big week and spoke about how important the win was and momentum is a massive thing and both teams were looking for it.
A side that for so long has relied on its fitness and team unity, it's been a tough start to the cup for the new-look Fishies as COVID-19 meant there was not as much preparation as Powyer would have liked.
After losses to the North Sydney Bears and the Maitland Pickers the signs were positive on Saturday, particularly when in the second half where CYMS ran in four tries to the Rams' nil.
While the improved ball control was vital, the spark provided by the men in key positions was also huge for the men in green and white.
Fullback Tony Pellow, who's absence was felt last weekend, was electric all game while halves Bayden Searle and Alex Bonham both scored tries, the latter after a brilliant chip and chase for himself on halfway.
Pellow grabbed a deserved try in the final five minutes to ice the result, having set-up his side's first for winger Jeremy Thurston with a lovely cut-out ball while his break also led to Searle's four-pointer in the second half.
"Tony is massive. He's got a big voice and plenty of energy and everyone feeds off that," Powyer said.
"There's no doubt that he's our spark at the back."
It had earlier been looking good for a Burke-inspired Western outfit.
While CYMS struck first through Thurston errors began to slip into the hosts' game and that allowed the Rams to take control.
A long, looping cut-out ball from Burke put winger Mackenzie Atkins in and then soon after as his side was shifting the ball from left to right the five-eighth stepped back and muscled his way over to put the Rams in control.
The comp certainly hasn't got away from us yet.Jarryn Powyer
They took the four-point lead into the break but that was as good as it got for the Cameron Greenhalgh's try as Bonham's highlight reel-worthy four-pointer 12 minutes into the second stanza started CYMS' dominant run.
"The comp certainly hasn't got away from us yet," Powyer said.
"The first two rounds are behind us, we've got a win and we're heading into Wests Illawarra which is another big game.
"We've got some momentum and we want to go back-to-back here. We don't want to go win-loss. This next week is massive and after that we get a bit of a home run so an away win would be awesome."
As well as Pellow and Searle, Isaac Thompson was again lively for CYMS at hooker while Powyer got through plenty of work up front.
Chances were limited for Western halves Burke and Harry Siejka while Jack Beasley was again among his side's best in the number nine while Jake Betts again was tireless at lock and his offloads helped create some of the few chances to Rams had.