THE lock was certainly the key when it came to Saturday's under 13s Group 10 Junior Rugby League semi-final as Orange CYMS' number 13 Riley Hoad crossed five times in his side's 40-12 win over St Pat's.
While Hoad had scored the opening try of the sudden-death semi-final at Jack Arrow Oval, by half-time the Saints held a 12-10 lead and were eyeing off a spot in the grand final.
But Hoad's size, strength, smart angled runs and strong fend helped swing momentum back in favour of the green and golds and in the end they ran away with the match.
Hoad's star performance means CYMS will join Cowra in the decider after the Magpies posted a 20-16 win over Bloomfield Wildcats thanks to hooker Noah Knight's treble.
While CYMS' willingness to spread the ball wide and find space on the edges against St Pat's - combined with Hoad's strong running - provided decisive, the Saints showed plenty of determination throughout the match.
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Tries from Brett Hahn and Cameron Sargent helped Pat's to the lead in the second quarter and it was only a brilliant covering tackle from CYMS' Harry Stubbs that stopped winger Anthony Sampson from scoring.
Pat's centre Brayden Branda pulled off a try-saver of his own - putting CYMS' Logan Elliott into touch - while Orange hooker Chayse King was held up over the line.
Aside from Hoad's star performance, CYMS halves Haiden Porter and Isaac Clarke directed play well and King made some smart runs from dummy half.
Porter scored CYMS' second try of the match just before half-time to get his side within two points of the lead before Hoad put CYMS ahead early in the third quarter.
Ryan Baker and George Tancred also crossed in the third quarter as CYMS pushed out to a 24-12 lead, while Hoad iced his man-of-the-match effort with a hat-trick in the final period.