WINS don't come gutsier than Wests 12-10 victory over Dubbo CYMS at Parrish Park on Sunday. For that matter, nor do losses.
In racing parlance, you'd probably deem it a heavy 50, so atrocious were the conditions on the outer paddocks of Parrish Park. It saw both sides virtually fighting it out on a creek bed, with the Devils withstanding a relentless assault on their line as the clock wound down.
They ultimately did enough to cling to a two-point lead, a Mitch Porter penalty goal just four minutes in proving the difference down the stretch.
Former Devils star Tony Pellow's outing against his former club didn't last much longer than that, with CYMS No. 1 helped from the field with concussion inside the opening 10 minutes.
His absence was telling, particularly as the visitors pressed hard for a go-ahead four-pointer at the death, in a match that finished two tries apiece.
Wins don't come more valuable for coach Pete McLeod, whose side now sits at 2-1 with a bye in the opening four rounds of the state-wide competition.
"I've never seen conditions like that before," McLeod said.
"They were basically playing on a lake so full credit to both teams, they both went at it, I think we just held on a bit better defensively in the second half.
"I was disappointed in the first try they scored, I thought we were a bit passive on our try-line, but other than that I was really happy.
"You're going to get dropped balls, mistakes, it's not a normal game of footy in the conditions that we played. To get the two points is good and keeps our season alive in this Presidents Cup.
"You don't know what we're playing each week, the boys are out of their comfort zone, so it gives us a bit of confidence. We've got Wentworthville next week and that's going to be a big challenge, hopefully in better conditions. I don't think they could be worse."
Porter opened proceedings with a penalty goal from in front before Pellow left the park after being a felled in a tackle that left Will Temaari on report. It didn't slow the visitors too much, with Wade Kavanagh crossing for the opening try from close range for an 4-2 lead.
The Devils hit back through Kyle Lodge five minutes later and led 12-4 after Michael Appleby won the race to a Justin Rodrigues grubber three minutes into the second half.
Ben Marlin barged across next to the posts at the other end to cut the margin back to two, but it turned out to be as close as they got.
CYMS captain-coach Jarryn Powyer said heading home with nothing was a tough pill to swallow after such a gritty effort.
"Both teams turned up, I'm sure no one as really looking forward to getting out there and playing but, once we were out there it was all effort from both sides," Powyer said.
"Every time we were down their end it felt pretty good. Obviously there was no expansive attack, but it looked like we were going to test them on the edge, we just didn't get down there enough due to our dropped ball.
"Tony [Pellow's] instrumental for us at the back, you never have to think, he's just directing the show from the back. He's nothing but talk and energy and, at times, that's probably just what we needed so it was devastating to lose him early.
"It's a tough one to lose but credit to Wests they put in a bit harder and held onto the ball a bit longer."