MISTAKES at critical moments cost CSU on Saturday, but after going down 29-7 to Narromine assistant coach Pete Plunkett declared the performance the best of the students' New Holland Cup campaign thus far.
Though only managing to score one try at University Oval - and that came at a time Narromine were a man short due to winger Alex Heap being yellow carded - CSU did show promise.
There was at times some nice counter-rucking, there were occasions when the forwards strung together plenty of phases and there some sweeping back line movements.
But when it came to capitalising on the good field position that gave them, CSU was unable to do so. The count of handling errors was high.
"Too many mistakes. In the first half we had a lot of field position, in both halves, but once again in those critical moments our handling or our options let us down," Plunkett said.
"But for us I think it was probably our best performance of the season so far. There seemed to be a bit more continuity in the backs and our forwards.
"They were very lucky that day we won against Dubbo and it was a big improvement from [the loss against] Parkes."
Facing CSU for the first time since last year's shock grand final defeat, it was a much younger looking Gorillas outfit which ran out onto University Oval.
However, it was a familiar face in flanker Tim Allworth who put the visitors on top early with a pair of tries inside the first 10 minutes, the second of which came on the back of a line break.
Though trailing 12-0 CSU regrouped and spent plenty of time inside Narromine's 22. But as was to be the case for much of the match, the Gorillas' defence withstood the pressure.
It took until the 33rd minute for the students to get some reward for their possession as prop Marcus Burrell steamed over. Glen Pollard converted to make it 12-7.
That's how it stood at the break and when CSU returned for the second half, they were soon camped inside Narromine's 22 again.
CSU tested Narromine up the middle, prop Sam Chambo and number 8 Maurice Otutaha earning the praise of the assistant coach for their efforts.
Five-eighth Nick Plunkett and scrumhalf Harry Magriplis tried hard to create and winger Harry Hunt made some good runs on the fringes, but Narromine held them out.
Narromine's rugby league convert Ratu Roko, who played at outside centre, pulled off some big hits. Tight-head prop David Weir pilfered. All of the Gorillas worked together as a strong defensive unit.
CSU was then reduced to 14 men in the 52nd minute when Burrell was yellow-carded, and four minutes later Narromine scrumhalf Jack Bell crossed to make it 17-7.
There was still time for the students and they again came at the visitors, but the closest they got was when knocking on trying for a pick and drive try.
When number 8 Mick Harris bullied his way over and Heap converted with 14 minutes left the margin blew out to 24-7, Narromine fullback Billy Browning then sealing a win with a try on full-time.
"Just once again it was that execution that hurt us. What is also hurting us is the amount of players who are available to us due to injuries and work commitments," Plunkett said.
"But full congratulations to Narromine, they kept it to task all day and didn't give us much quarter actually.
"Under pressure they stayed strong. Whenever they came into our 50 they scored, it wasn't the same way for us."