Dubbo Rhinos coach Guy Turner has praised the fortitude of his side after they overcame a 19-point first-half deficit to score a thrilling two-point win over Blayney in their round 2 New Holland Cup clash at Apex Oval on Saturday.
The Rhinos conceded the first three tries of the contest, which ultimately finished at five tries apiece and wasn’t decided until a long-range penalty attempt from Blayney’s Cameron Hobby was waved wide in the dying seconds.
But they showed some steely resolve to outscore their opponents 24-5 in the second stanza after trailing 24-7 at the main break.
Winger Viliame Turuva was strong for the Rhinos, as was fellow former leaguie Ilisoni Vonomateiratu, while the class of fullback Tyson Fuller was on display numerous times throughout the match.
“I think the boys showed big improvement from how they played last week, and even though we didn’t start well I thought we adapted well after half-time,” Turner said.
“Our structures were better, I thought we made better decisions with the ball and we tightened our defence up.
“It was a big effort because it’s never easy to give away a start like that and come back. Credit to Blayney, they played hard and really made us earn it.”
The Rhinos trailed for the entire contest until a 77th minute try from halfback Chris Sellings saw the lead change for the first and last time.
For the visitors, there was also some optimism despite the result not going their way.
Jeremy Kable was among his side’s best and was rewarded with a try, while Ethan Hobby showed why he is one of the premier players in the competition with another strong performance
Injured coach Cameron Cole said his playing group would still take something out of the match.
“We’re coming up to play in this comp, where the Rhinos are dropping back so for us to step up against them and go so close is a good result,” he said.
“They’re a good side, and I can’t be down on my boys. These sides have to come down to Blayney and I think we’ll get better as the season goes along and we play more games against these sides.
“We could easily have been two-from-two but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Both sides will be at home next Saturday, with the Rhinos hosting CSU while Narromine will make the trek to Blayney to face the Rams.
- DUBBO RHINOS 31 (Viliame Turuva, Burren Shaw, Tyson Fuller, James Bamblett, Chris Sellings tries; 3 convs) def BLAYNEY RAMS 29 (Ethan Hobby, Jeremy Kable, Zac Taylor, Andrew Delaney, Sebastian Hobby tries; Cameron Hobby 2 convs)