A fast-starting Bathurst Bulldogs side proved too strong for the Dubbo Kangaroos in their Blowes Clothing Cup clash at Victoria Park on Saturday.
The 21-10 scoreline all but confirms Dubbo will not be playing finals football in the top grade this season and coach Paul Hausia knows his side gave it their all.
"It was exciting to watch but also disappointing at the same time, he said.
"Things just didn't go our way and we made some decisions which we probably shouldn't have made.
"Credit the Bulldogs, they came to play and in the first five minutes we blinked and they went in.
"I think that put us behind the eight ball from the very beginning.
"Credit to our blokes, for the whole 80 minutes they just didn't stop."
The injury-ravaged Dubbo side lost scrumhalf Pat Wheatley to a shoulder injury early in the second half and Hausia knows he was a big loss.
"He's a good communicator young Pat," he said.
"He just takes control so he was pretty well missed as soon as he went off."
Against his old club, Joe Nash was outstanding for Dubbo being forced to move into the flyhalf role in the second half and Hausia was pleased with his efforts in the loss.
"It's always good to see when he gets the ball in his hands," he said.
"We have told him just to be more proactive with getting it and when he does we just seem to be going forward.
"He's one of those players you can always rely on when push comes to shove."
Bulldogs captain Justin Mobbs was pleased his side came away with the win.
"It was a scrappy game," he said.
"Very lucky to get away with it but glad to get away with it at the same time."
Regardless of Dubbo's form, Mobbs knows the road trip down the Mitchell Highway is never an easy venture.
"One of the hardest trips in the competition I must say," he said.
"No matter where Dubbo are sitting on the ladder, you always come here knowing it's going to be an incredibly tough match.
"They've got big forwards and skillful backs at they showed that again today."
Bathurst opened the scoring in just the second minute of the game when Brad Glasson darted through a gap in the defence to score the first try of the afternoon before Harry Webber added the extras.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts when Bailey Warren scored not long after giving Bathurst a 14-0 lead inside 10 minutes.
Wheatley got Dubbo on the board with a penalty goal but the game ignited shortly after when Ronan Scott and Peter Fitzsimmons were both shown red cards after a fight broke out.
The horror show for Dubbo rolled on as Charlie Kempston was given a yellow card at the back end of the half but Bathurst failed to capitalise with an extra player going into halftime with a 14-3 lead.
Nash flipped the match on its head as he made a 50-metre break a minute into the second half to score under the posts before Wheatley converted the try as things started to click for Dubbo.
Wheatley left the game minutes later and Dubbo's attack became unorganised as the match became an arm wrestle between the forwards.
Webber scored a try of his own to give Bathurst some breathing room while also converting to give the visitors a 21-10 lead.
Dubbo winger Maika Seresere crossed for the hosts with a minute remaining as Hamish Gordon converted to make the score 21-17.
Nash gave Dubbo one last chance as he made a break off the kickoff and looked to offload the ball but the referee deemed a knock-on to occur and blew the full-time whistle.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: