St Pat's have blown a 14-point lead to finish with a draw against a fast-finishing Dubbo CYMS in the second round of the Western under 21s competition on Saturday.
Both CYMS and Pat's won in style in the opening round, against Forbes and Orange CYMS respectively, so plenty was expected from their battle at Apex Oval.
It lived up to the billing but in the end the biggest influence on the match was the discipline of both sides, with the scores locked at 18-all at full time.
St Pat's assistant coach Hayden Ward pointed to the binning of five-eighth Kyle Mawhinney as the difference between success and disappointment.
St Pat's led 12-4 at the main break and that lead grew in the second half to 18-4 but when Mawhinney went to the bin CYMS was able to score twice and then a Jordi Madden penalty goal with five minutes to go levelled things up.
"To lose that man with 10 to go, he's one of our dominant players, it really hurt us and we couldn't hang on," Ward said.
"It's a draw like a loss for us because we were leading by so much.
"If we do lose a man we need to stay confident. You could just see we lost it."
CYMS had James Stanley and Jayden Young sent to the bin during the middle stages of the match but the binning of Mawhinney allowed the Fishies to rally from 18-4 down in the final quarter.
"The cup is half-full. We'll take that," CYMS coach Paul Yeo said of the draw.
"I don't think we were at our best by a long way and a couple of boys in the bin wasn't a good look.
"It had a poor effect on the game. Especially when it happens when it was warm and the boys were struggling."
CYMS had earlier opened the scoring in warm conditions at home, with halfback Madden getting across in the first quarter.
St Pat's soon found their way into the game though and the sin-binning of Stanley was sandwiched by a double for prop Nik Booth, and Cooper Neilsen's conversions allowed the visitors to build a 12-4 lead.
That was how it stayed until half-time and when Young was given 10 minutes to cool down by referee Willy Barnes following some back chat, Pat's struck again through Neilsen following a break from the impressive lock Aaron Mawhinney.
The Bathurst side was playing like a side in complete control but when their lock's brother was sin-binned soon after for slowing the play and Pat's struggled for cohesion.
Karl Uele crashed over immediately after the sin-binning and Stanley, who produced a number of trademark bone-rattling hits during the game, soon made-up for his earlier indiscretion by embarking on an outstanding run and bumped off defenders before putting centre Young over.
Madden's conversion had CYMS within two and when the Fishies were awarded a penalty right in front with time ticking down they opted to take the two and level it up.
Both sides had half chances in the final stages but there was no more points, leaving the teams in a share of second on the ladder behind Macquarie.
"At half-time I said the effort was terrific but we just let go of the steering wheel a bit," Yeo said.
"After half-time, attack-wise, I thought we were at least as good as St Pat's. We just needed to get the ball back and have some possession.
"Eventually we did that and it squared up."
The Macquarie Raiders watched on as CYMS and St Pat's played before taking to the Apex Oval field and downing Orange CYMS.
The Raiders defeated the Orange side 24-10 to make it two wins from as many rounds and move into outright lead at the top of the six-team ladder.
After an even opening few minutes the Raiders' attacking threats started to show and tries for Macauley Ryan and Riley Fernando and sidelines conversions from Nic Tighe shot the hosts out to a 12-0 lead early.
The sides traded four-pointers again, Jak Jeffrey getting across for the Raiders, before Macquarie winger Kyzah Louie went over to ice the result for the hosts.
In the other round two match, Forbes bounced back from an opening loss by defeating Woodbridge 30-12.
Woodbridge takes on Dubbo CYMS at Forbes next weekend while Macquarie travels to Bathurst to meet St Pat's.
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