THE forwards were asked to run hard, the backs were asked to play with more width and the under 11 Bathurst Panthers side did just as they were asked
With an effort that was described as the best of the young Panthers' Group 10 Junior Rugby League season thus far, the boys in black posted a 10-6 win over Orange CYMS Green in their major semi-final.
There were some nervous moments at Tony Luchetti Sportsground when CYMS scored with five minutes remaining, but the Panthers held on.
"CYMS we thought they were going to come back, but the boys, they did well. They hung on there," Panthers' James Higgins, who helps coach Emma Duke with the side, said.
"All of them played well, they worked pretty hard this week on more width and creating a platform for our backs to use it wider.
"Today was probably the best game they've played all year, it's good to see them shaping up at the right time."
Panthers fullback Max Higgins scored the only try of a first half, but it featured some impressive plays from both teams.
CYMS hooker Jackson West, while being one of the smallest on the field, got through a mountain of work in defence while Panthers lock Jackson Fischbeck made good yards every carry.
In the third quarter of the match Panthers extended their lead when five-eighth Charlie Higgins scored, but at 10-0 it was by no means game over.
CYMS kept their hopes alive when Lachlan Kestitch charged over with five minutes left, the front rower having made a brilliant run down the left wing earlier in the set as well.
He converted his try to make it 10-6 and set up a tense finish, but Panthers held on.
Depending on what impact the lockdown of regional New South Wales has on the competition, Panthers next match is likely to be a grand final qualifier against Mudgee.
"Mudgee have not been beat all year so we'll see how we go against them," Higgins said.
BATHURST PANTHERS 10 (Max Higgins, Charlie Higgins tries; Max Higgins goal) defeated ORANGE CYMS GREEN 6 (Lachlan Kestitch try; Lachlan Kestitch goal)
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