It was a hard, tough game - as Byrne-Long clashes always tend to be - but the Orange Tigers fought their way to claim a gritty 38-point win over Bathurst Bushrangers Outlaws on Saturday afternoon.
In the two club's annual square-off for the cup dedicated to two legends at either club, it was debutant Pete Byrne, the son of Tigers' legend Mark, who stood up and kicked three crucial goals through the middle of the game to push his side to a 13.7.85 to 7.5.47 win at Waratahs Sportsground.
The clash also pitted the two sides from last year's grand final against each other, but Orange had only six players from that premiership side playing, while the Bushrangers' two sides change each year with their draft.
[He told me to] go hard at the footy and play your best.Tigers debutant Pete Byrne on the advice given to him from father and club legend Mark during the week
While the debutant Byrne said there were nerves heading into the game, he didn't show it on the field as he started down back and moved his way forward in the second and third quarters to hit the scoreboard.
"It was a little bit faster and harder than I'm used to but it was good to get the first goal, it felt good," he said.
He'd said he initially hadn't realised it was the Byrne-Long Cup when he was named, and his old man had kept the advice simple during the week.
"I'd only realised it was the Byrne-Long Cup yesterday so I hadn't really prepared but wasn't really thinking about it until the day," he said.
"[He told me to] go hard at the footy and play your best."
Despite the Tigers kicking the opening goal, the Bushrangers held the upper hand in the opening break having kicked three goals, with despite all coming from free kicks had been worked for with repeated entry into the forward 50.
The home side flipped the script in the second though, with a four-goals-to-none term and while the Bushrangers cut the Tigers' lead to 14 at the final break, the hosts kicked another five in the fourth to put the result beyond doubt.
"We kept fighting right to the end, it was one of those games where the ball didn't bounce our way but we didn't drop our heads, the tackling pressure was there all day and we kept fighting for the footy," Bushrangers coach Steve Grundy said.
The win leaves the Tigers on top of the ladder two rounds into the season.