Dubbo CYMS coach Shawn Townsend might consider Orange star Daniel Mortimer the best player in the Peter McDonald Premiership but Fishies powerhouse Jeremy Thurston's name is firmly in the conversation after another match-winning double on Sunday.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Thurston's two tries were the highlight for an otherwise scrappy CYMS side that scored a 24-18 victory at Parkes on Sunday.
The two tries showcased the all-round quality of Thurston's game and moved him to 13 four-pointers for the season, one less than both Desi Doolan and Corin Smith.
He made the shift from centres to fullback in the second stanza and produced a smart and perfectly-timed run to haul in a Jordi Madden grubber and score what turned out to be the match-winner on 70 minutes after things had been locked at 18-all.
Townsend rates former NRL premiership winner and current Orange CYMS captain-coach Daniel Mortimer as the best player in the competition, but still had plenty of praise for his leading outside back.
"He probably gets bored out in the centres but I like him at fullback too," Townsend said, stating Thurston made the change himself.
"It gives him a licence to roam around and he's a real threat when he's at fullback because he gets his hands on the ball more and he's been really good for us last year and this year as well.
"Defensively he reads it so well and he's just a big, strong ball carrier. He anticipates better than a lot of others and he reads things so well at fullback. He pops up in places quicker than others and he can do what not many other people around him can do.
"He's just a good footballer."
CYMS was far from its best on Sunday and while not pleased with some aspects of the performance, Townsend wasn't too fazed as winning a tough away game was all that matters.
The Fishies scored five-tries-to-three on Sunday - Riley Wake, Luke Jenkins and Corey Drew also crossed - but Brad Pickering only landed two conversions in the breezy conditions.
The competition's leading point-scorer, Chad Porter, continued his fine season for Parkes as he scored a double and kicked three-from-three.
Parkes were without suspended forwards Will Wardle and Tikoko Noke but started with real motivation as a win was needed to boost hopes of a top two finish in the Group 11 pool.
Instead, the Spacemen remain fourth and sit a win behind the second-placed Macquarie Raiders and one point behind Forbes.
"We didn't get things on our terms but I said all week it was just a case of coming over and getting the job done and moving on," Townsend added.
"There's a bit of improvement left. We were in a really good groove after we beat Forbes (on July 2) and then we had a week off (bye) and some blokes went away and we didn't train on the Friday night.
"If we had played last week maybe the preparation would have been a bit better but we got the win and that's the main thing."
The win was extra pleasing given CYMS' preparation for the match was far from ideal.
The Fishies managed to give a long-awaited debut to Tom Hughes but five-eighth Alex Bonham suffered a hamstring twinge at training on Friday night and while he was named to play on Sunday he couldn't complete the pre-match warm-up and was ruled out.
Brydon Ramien, who was promoted to the starting lineup after Mitch Cleary moved from the back-row to five-eighth, then departed inside 20 minutes as he couldn't overcome illness he had been battling in recent weeks.
Parkes was also hampered throughout the match as fullback Joey Dwyer and centre Jim Dabea exited with injuries in the first half while captain-coach and five-eighth Jack Creith played the full 80 minutes despite suffering a nasty dislocated thumb before half-time.
The injuries, on top of the loss of Wardle and Noke, tested Parkes' depth and that combined with a number of errors in possession at key times in the second half proved costly.
Both sides felt hard done by at different points in the second half after disallowed tries but Creith admitted a lack of respect for the ball cost his team.
"We put ourselves in some good spots and worked really hard in defence and we did all we were asked to do but the ball slips away a few times when you try and push and offload and you can't do that against CYMS," Creith said post-game.
"We had a lot of defence (in that second half) and every time we had the ball we threw it away. It was probably four or five times we gave the ball away.
"But you can feel it coming. It's there and it's really, really close and that's as good as a test as you're going to get against these fellas."
The result marked back-to-back losses for Parkes after defeat to Orange Hawks a week prior, but Creith insists the belief is still there.
"It might hurt the coach because he's come back (from injury) the past two games," Creith laughed.
"But in saying that the formula is there and the players are there. The effort was there today and you could have predicted this game was going to be 24-18 today. You just didn't know which way it was going to go and I feel CYMS would have felt the same.
"It just wasn't ours."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.