AS CSU fell agonisingly short of pulling off its second comeback victory in as many weeks, coach Dave Conyers knew it was more than a missed conversion that had cost his side.
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While Narromine celebrated a 20-19 New Holland Cup victory at University Oval, Conyers was left to think about what could have been had CSU been able to build more pressure with the ball.
The students had enjoyed plenty of time inside the Gorillas' 22, they won scrums against the feed and pilfered line-out ball, but they struggled to string together phases.
In the opening half they only once managed to string together more than five phases - it resulted in a try when they did. After the break while that statistic improved, the turnovers were still a constant.
"We were just too panicky, too unsettled, it was really clunky. It's early days, there are still a lot of connections to make, but yeah, that was just clunky," Conyers said.
"Our scrum and line-out were really good, our set plays were good, but they beat us to the breakdown, their number two [Hamish Job] had an exceptional game I thought.
"I guess that's footy, we can't be pulling it out of the fire every week I suppose."
It took CSU 14 minutes to carry the ball over halfway on Saturday, the lack of attacking possession reflecting on the scoreboard as Narromine opened up a 10-0 lead.
The Gorillas' try came from fleet-footed winger Eric Dayes, who took an intercept and ran 60 metres to score.
But after Gorillas flanker Will Campbell was yellow carded, CSU finally strung together some phases, built pressure, and were rewarded as former skipper Sam Chamberlain steamed over.
That lifted CSU, but the second half still had its frustrations. Reg Townsend thought he had a try but it was disallowed for a forward pass and on another occasion the students barged over but it was unclear if the ball had been grounded as they claimed.
Finally CSU hit the front when Ethan Cusick pounced on a dropped ball and fired a brilliant pass into the arms of Kaleb Smith. The conversion made it 14-10.
However, Cusick was yellow carded soon after and when Dayes sprinted down the sideline and kicked ahead, CSU had no-one there in cover.
Euan Truscott scored, fullback Alex Heap converted then booted a penalty goal with seven minutes left to see Narromine back in front at 20-14.
While CSU rallied and had skipper Lachie Melville score with around three minutes left on the clock, the conversion that would have snatched victory was waved away.
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