Bathurst Bulldogs coach Dean Oxley said his felt "very lucky" to be leaving Dubbo with a bonus-point win after a gripping battle at No. 1 Oval on Saturday.
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The Bulldogs defeated the Dubbo Kangaroos 32-28 in what will undoubtedly be one of the Blowes Cup games of the season.
In a match that wasn't decided until the final whistle, the Roos had the upper-hand for much of the contest but Bulldogs' class and experience came to the fore in the second half.
A try for Roos prop Andy Leathem got the Roos within one point but the conversion attempt from Calub Cook - who took over kicking in the second half due to a knee complaint for Josh Bass - missed to the right.
A Kurt Weekes penalty then put the Dogs up by four and, despite having Joe Kermode yellow-carded late on, the defence of the men in blue and gold on their own line held firm as the Roos threw everything at them in the final moments.
"We were very lucky to get away with that. I'm very happy to get away with the win," Oxley said.
"We played as good as what we could and I'm very proud of my boys for sticking to the job and coming up here and getting those points.
"They were coming home and we were rattled and we were pressured but we played good footy and we handled it. It's all about absorbing what they throw at us and we did the job.
"I'm very, very happy to get the win. We showed a lot of character but so did Dubbo."
While the match finished in defeat for the Roos, it was another sign the side has made a real step forward this season.
Having missed finals for the past two seasons, the Dubbo side went into Saturday in third spot on the ladder and chasing a third successive win.
At 15-7 up in the first half and then when leading by nine midway through the second stanza it appeared they were on the way to achieving that goal, but some handling errors and inexperience in key moments late on proved decisive.
Roos captain Tom Koerstz said it "definitely hurts" after losing the match but added there was lessons to be learned.
"You can't take anything away from Bathurst and the way they fought back in the second half and put us under a lot of pressure. That shows why their such a classy side," he said.
"There was a couple of what-ifs. We had a couple of opportunities to put the icing on the cake but we made mistakes.
"The promising thing is we're creating those opportunities. We missed out today but they'll come and we'll get better. We'll keep building."
While Cook missed a conversion attempt late on, he was otherwise brilliant for the Roos on Saturday.
After the Bulldogs opened the scoring through Adam Plummer - one of his side's best on the day - Roos backs Cook, Ratu Roko and Logan Porch began to find some space.
That led the hosts into attacking territory and they scored through winger Hamish Fuller before Cook got supporters up on their feet on 23 minutes.
Roko managed to get the ball away while under pressure and from there it went to the fullback out on the right wing.
His raced along the sideline before he left Kermode grasping at air with an in-and-away and he ran around to dive under the posts.
That gave the hosts a 15-7 lead and plenty of momentum but the Dogs rallied and went into the break down by only one after a Tom Felsch try.
A Bass penalty and conversion after a Roko try early in the second stanza put the hosts back in control but from the Dogs refused to lie down.
Tries for experienced campaigners Peter Fitzsimmons and Justin Mobbs and a Weeks penalty swung momentum again before Leathem's five-pointer set-up the grandstand finish.
"It's those little moments," Koerstz said.
"We're getting better at winning them but you've got to win all of them. We, unfortunately, probably left a couple of those little crucial moments on the field and they didn't."
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