There was relief almost as much as excitement for the Narromine Jets as Corey Cox’s post-siren penalty goal gave them a 36-34 win, their first of the season, on Sunday.
After going winless through the first five rounds of the Group 11 competition, there was plenty on the line for the Jets and their opponents, Dubbo Westside.
Westside led by 16 points with 20 minutes remaining, and had a shot at field goal when the scores were locked, but they lost in one of the cruelest ways possible.
As the clock ticked down, it looked like both teams had blown their chance of victory. But with less than 30 seconds left, Westside conceded a penalty 40 metres out from their own line that gave the visitors a sniff.
Cox stepped up and slotted it between the posts, although he said he wasn’t confident that he would be able to make the distance.
“I wasn’t really feeling the pressure because I knew if I didn’t kick it we would still get a draw. The distance had me a bit worried.
“I didn’t know if I had the legs, I was just going to kick it and hope.
“It was bloody beautiful to get the win like that. To come out and turn things around in the second half in the way we did was fantastic,” he said.
The halfback has previous experience winning games after the bell, helping his side to a victory against Forbes in very similar fashion.
However he deflected the attention onto his teammates, praising them for fighting their way back into the match.
“We were playing for a purpose, one of our player’s nans passed last week and after their last try we stood there and said we need to have a dig. We were playing for pride and scored the points we needed and showed that,” Cox said.
“It’s a weight off the shoulders and will bring confidence. I’m glad we got it because if we didn’t I think we’d have our heads down.”
The win was even more impressive considering the Jets arrived in Dubbo with 11 first grade players, and were so short they only had three on the bench at the start of the game.
Cox opened the scoring for Narromine in the fifth minute of the match before Joseph Coe levelled the scored for Westside.
They traded tries again before Westside took the lead after 25 minutes and went to half-time in front 22-12.
They extended it soon after half-time with a try to Tye Blanchett and with 20 to go, were up 34-18.
Tries to EJ Fernando, Cox and Darryl Cubby locked the scores at 34-all, although Cox’s conversion of the third one could have given the Jets the lead if it didn’t hit the post and bounce back onto the field.
It mattered little in the end, as he redeemed himself with his penalty and gave Narromine a memorable first victory for 2017.