The magnitude of Dubbo CYMS’ win on Saturday took some time to sink in for coach Tim Ryan.
Ryan, preparing for his sixth Group 11 campaign as CYMS coach, saw his side down Newcastle’s powerful Western Suburbs Rosellas in the NSW Rugby League Challenge Cup clash.
CYMS only got a late call-up to compete in the tournament for the state’s best club sides but made the most of the chance, winning 16-12 at Harker Oval.
And now they’re through to the final and a win there would give them label of best club side in NSW.
“Probably straight after the game it hadn’t sunk in but now to look back and to win a game like that is special,” a proud Ryan said on Sunday.
Ryan has every right to describe it as special, as well.
Blokes were going to another level and covering for each other.CYMS coach Tim Ryan
While they didn’t all line up on Saturday, the Rosellas feature the likes of former NRL players Willie Tonga, Brad Tighe and Ryan Stig.
But it was the Fishies who came out on top in the clash, thanks to some dogged defence and equally gritty attitude.
“It was good and we showed a lot of heart,” Ryan said.
“Offensively, we didn’t complete really well but our heart and determination won us the game.
“Blokes were going to another level and covering for each other. You were allowed 20 (players) and we only had 18 but all of them stepped up.”
The coach found it hard to single out any individuals, stating Alex Ronayne and Alex Bonham were among the standouts before reaffirming the fact each of his players did a job.
The hard-fought opening 20 minutes set the standard for the match and the scores were all level at six apiece at the point.
Neither side could make the breakthrough before half time and that was how the scores stayed.
Both sides scored again in the second stanza but a successful conversion from the Rosellas put them in front, 12-10.
It seemed the score may stay that way heading into the final 10 minutes.
But things changed with six minutes to go.
The hard-running Billy Sing, back with the Fishies after a year in rugby union, got across to put his side in front.
Some more diligent defence in final stages secured the 16-12 victory.
“The boys did really well. I know some other sides pulled out but it’s not every day you get to play opposition like that in a competition game. It hasn’t happened in my time here,” Ryan said.
“Before we left I told them we wanted to make footy the priority. We had a good night afterwards but we did what we wanted.
“We were very thankful to be invited and very thankful to play as well after some tough negotiations.”
Ryan added the match has given him a real headache in terms of selecting the side for round one of the Group 11 competition in two weeks.
“We had 18 there and there’s five first-graders who missed it who are still to come back,” he said.
“There’s spots on the line now.”
The location, date and opposition for the Challenge Cup final is still to be confirmed.