IN a matchup between two of the Peter McDonald Premiership's most electric offences on Saturday it was the Forbes Magpies who had that extra bit of zap compared to hosts Bathurst Panthers.
A strong opening half from the visitors helped set up a high scoring 40-26 success at the Bathurst ground, as the Magpies signalled their title credentials in a fast-paced success.
Forbes fullback Mitch Andrews played at his usual high standard in a starring role for the visitors while lock Jake Grace was one of the biggest workhorses through the middle of the park.
It wasn't all bad news for the Panthers, who had Claude Gordon find a try-scoring double in defeat and Willie Wright's kicking game also kept the Magpies on the back foot at times.
Panthers player-coach Jake Betts said the loss gives his side plenty to reflect on during next weekend's bye.
"I thought we were on top for the first 20 minutes but with a few missed tackles and a couple of mistakes against a quality side you aren't going to get away with that," he said.
"They had the foot on the pedal and ran out to a bit of a lead. I thought we were able to peg them back but the same thing happened. We missed a few tackles and dropped the ball again.
"That will do us some good. We've got two weeks off so we'll regroup and go from there.
"They're great across the park and were strong today, especially with Mitchy out the back. I'd rather be dropped a game now though than later in the year."
It took only three minutes for Andrews to impose himself on the game when his big run down the right wing put Forbes in a strong position, though the team couldn't capitalise.
After several more missed opportunities Magpies eventually converted one of them when Coopa Martin broke through the line and flicked the ball to his winger Connor Greenhalgh for the opening try.
On the next Panthers set Wright produced a 40-20 to put the hosts in great field position and they took advantage through a try to Jake Betts, which was converted by Wright for a 6-4 lead.
It was across a 13 minutes stretch in the lead up to half-time where the Magpies went on a scoring run.
Martin was in again before Ben Maguire shrugged off a defender close to the Panthers try line to score.
A converted try for Grace came two minutes before the break, earned on the back of a big run downfield from Maguire, which pushed Forbes out to a 22-6 half-time lead.
Panthers' Jeremy Gordon scored eight minutes into the new half before Forbes dealt the Bathurst men a crushing blow with try to Andrews on a short side switch and a try to Toby Hurford on the very next set, making it 34-10.
Across an improved second half for the hosts Claude Gordon managed to score twice on the right side and Dave Sellers dragged four Magpies defenders across the line with him for a try under the uprights.
However, a try for the Magpies' Zeke Hartwig gave Forbes plenty of breathing room for the remaining 15 minutes.
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