It wasn't pretty but the Dubbo Rhinos held on to grab their second win of the New Holland Cup season against the Narromine Gorillas at Apex Oval on Saturday.
For the Rhinos, it was also their first home win in three seasons and coach Doug Sandry was a relieved man after 8-5 scoreline.
"That was terrible, that was terribly hard actually," he said.
"Forty minutes of defence on our line in the second half and we didn't get out of our half, Narromine kept coming at us.
"Our defence was after last week which was so poor but to keep them to one try was incredible."
Early in the first half, the Rhinos forward pack were looking to ball play and Sandry admitted it was a plan coming into the match.
"We'd be working on that at training, just trying to develop a little pass to spread the play a little bit and we had an opportunity on the blindside but pass when to ground so a bit more work to do on it but it was good to see and I'm very happy with it," he said.
Brady Brooks opened the scoring for the home side finding the line with a pick and drive but was substituted shortly after due to a head knock and Sandry is hoping a week off will do him some good.
"We checked him, we sent him back but he ended up with a blue card," he said.
"We have the general bye next week so that gives him the opportunity to relax and rest.
"At the end of the day, I've got to protect the players and he wasn't happy but he understands.
"I've got a responsibility to all the players and to him you know and the club as well."
Narromine hit back through Charles Tuck as the scores were level at 5-a-piece heading into halftime.
Early in the second half Rhinos flanker Jesse Redenbach slotted a penalty goal to give his side the lead but the second half was all Narromine way.
The Gorillas had the bulk of possession in the second half but penalties to both sides kept the game from flowing.
Narromine had a penalty shot at goal with seven minutes remaining but it flew wide with the Rhinos eventually holding on for a three-point win.
Gorillas captain Dan Battishall was proud of the effort of his side after the match.
"Bit of a tough game, it always is against the Rhinos," he said.
"Bit of a rivalry between Narromine and Dubbo so it's always a tough game here coming to Apex."
Like the Rhinos, Narromine opted to continue to move the Dubbo forwards around and Battishall said it was a thought out tactic.
"Sort of, they've always got a big pack and sort of hit you hard," he said.
"We are a bit smaller and try to play a wider sort of a game so unfortunately, it didn't really work for us too well today."
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