A penalty try, swings of momentum, injuries to captain-coaches, a few flare-ups, controversial decisions and a thrilling finish.
Sunday's Peter McDonald Premiership meeting between the Macquarie Raiders and the Mudgee Dragons lived up to the billing in a big way.
The Dragons finished 24-22 winners but the scoreline only told part of the story as the Raiders had stormed back from an 18-0 half-time deficit.
In the end, an eight-point penalty try for the Dragons inside the opening three minutes proved crucial in a match which finished with both sides having a number of fitness worries.
The most concerning for both sides were potentially serious injuries for their captain-coaches.
Macquarie's Alex Ronayne was at Dubbo Hospital when the full-time siren sounded after being left struggling to catch his breath following a first half rib injury and head knock while Mudgee counterpart Clay Priest also failed to finish the first 40 minutes due to a knee injury which will require scans this week.
Priest was a tense figure on the sideline in the dying stages when the Raiders had a number of chances to score what would have been the match-winner.
"Definitely. I wanted to be out there to help them but my knee, I don't know what the go is with it but hopefully it's all okay," Priest said at full-time.
"It's only the early rounds so I'd rather be there for the end than now.
"I definitely felt something and a noise or something so I'll get some scans and see how bad it is. Hopefully for my sake it's all good."
While Priest had concerns about his own fitness, he was proud of the way his side stayed level-headed late on and held on for the win.
Allowing the Raiders to fightback from a three-try deficit was less of a positive, but he said the final stages proved there was plenty of pride in the jersey.
"It was pleasing but to go from where we were with the points on the board, I was a bit disappointed," Priest said.
"We didn't give up but we let the Macquarie boys back in there and it was pleasing to take the win but it was a little scrappy."
Jack Kavanagh, the Raiders' co-captain-coach alongside Ronayne, was left frustrated at full-time.
The poor start - fumbling the kick-off and then conceding an eight-point try - went completely against Macquarie's goal of dominating the opening stages of every match.
A number of decisions also went against the Raiders with one apparent knock-on from Mudgee fullback Jack Littlejohn on his own line inside the final six minutes not called.
"It's very disappointing," Kavanagh said of the result.
"You can't be starting like that. We pride ourselves on five physical sets to get us on the front foot in the game and we didn't do that.
"A couple of calls didn't go our way and we went into half-time at 18-0 but we came out and played some really good footy to get within two points and we got down there multiple times but we just couldn't get those last points.
"A couple of forward passes and a couple of 50-50 calls and that decides the game."
A dramatic start to the match set the tone for things to come.
The Mudgee kick-off went close to the dead ball line but was fumbled by Richard Peckham and Colt Ure and forced the Raiders into a line dropout.
The Dragons made the hosts pay as in the second minute Jack Durrant collected a bomb and planted it down, but not before he was collected by the knees of Raiders fullback Josh Nixon.
A penalty try was awarded and the 8-0 lead then became 14-0 on 11 minutes when James Goonrey crossed.
The Raiders had their chances but handling errors and some poor last tackle options proved costly as right on half-time Corin Smith went over out wide to extend the lead.
Kavanagh demanded 13 leaders take to the field in the second half and his players responded as a crunching hit from Maclay Ryan on Pacey Stockton forced an error in the first minute after the restart and got the men in blue up and about.
Five minutes later the hosts scored through the impressive Billy Gilbert but the Dragons weren't fazed and hit back on 52 minutes through a second for Durrant.
Following that was a brilliant six-minute spell from the hosts.
First, they opted to run on the last tackle and a shift left resulted in a try for winger Charlie Kempston before a Harry Kempston kick into the in-goal bounced perfectly for Clayton Daley to score.
The halfback missed the conversion attempt and when another shift to the left on 61 minutes resulted in EJ Fernando putting Nixon over the margin was just two.
Both sides had tries disallowed for forward passes in the final quarter of the match and while the Raiders gave it their all, some mature game control from the likes of former NRL player LIttlejohn helped the Dragons - a team seen by many as the competition favourites - make it back-to-back wins to start the season.
"Being favourite means nothing. Anyone can win on the day and you could see that by some of the results yesterday (Saturday)," Priest said, pointing to Wellington's shock win over Bathurst St Pat's.
"It's all talk and it means nothing. I'm worried about our side and each week and hopefully we can be that side at the end."
The Dragons also lost five-eighth Hayden Carpenter to injury on Sunday while the Raiders also had a number of knocks they will monitor during the week.
Next up for Macquarie is a trip to Forbes to take on the defending premiers while Mudgee meets the battling Orange CYMS side which has conceded 92 points in the opening two rounds.
The Raiders will also have a nervy wait this week after Kavanagh was put on report early in the first half for a spear tackle.
- MUDGEE DRAGONS 24 (Jake Durrant 2, James Goonrey, Corin Smith tries; Goonrey 4 goals) defeated MACQUARIE RAIDERS 22 (Billy Gilbert, Charlie Kempston, Clayton Daley, Josh Nixon tries; Harry Kempston 3 goals)