Orange CYMS captain-coach Ethan McKellar believes the tide is turning for his side after they led heavyweights Mudgee Dragons for more than an hour in their round 3 Peter McDonald Premiership clash.
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CYMS ultimately went down 34-18 at a sodden Wade Park on Saturday as Dragons ran in four tries in the final 20 minutes to avoid the mightiest of shocks.
Despite the middle of the field resembling a pigsty, the home side handled the ball well and didn't look like a team who had been blown away in back-to-back heavy losses to start the season.
A try on debut for 18-year old winger Oli Maunder set CYMS on their way and they would take a deserved 12-6 lead into the sheds.
Even when Mudgee - coming off of wins over Forbes and the Macquarie Raiders - hit back two minutes into the second half, the green and yellow responded in kind through Toby Gibson.
Their 18-10 lead soon evaporated though via tries to Dragons half Pacey Stockton and a spectacular diving effort from centre Corin Smith.
Jack Beasley extended the visitors' lead before an amazing chip, chase and recover from Stockton saw him score his second three minutes from time.
A mud-soaked McKellar said post-game he wouldn't back down from trying to lead the proud club back to the top after a massive player exodus during the off-season
"I'm ecstatic with the way the boys played," he said.
"It was ours to lose and unfortunately we did but there are a lot of positives.
"It's been a struggle for the club for the start of the year and we're starting to see the bright side and getting more numbers to training. I think that really reflects on how we showed up today.
"It's that mentality, trying to teach the boys that we have to play the full 80 minutes. Obviously Mudgee are going to capitalise on mistakes and when we're down on our knees. It's getting better.
"It's something that I've always wanted to do and the age I'm at I'm stoked with the opportunity.
"With that comes its challenges, it is stressful but that's what I signed myself up for. I'm not taking a backward step."
The final score was testament to Mudgee's very real title ambitions, having largely been second best for the majority of the afternoon before their late blitz.
Coach Clay Priest, who was a late withdrawal, said there was plenty to work on.
He also confirmed he would continue to be out for a few weeks due to a knee injury.
"There were parts of it that I was happy with," he said.
"Obviously in these sort of conditions no one likes going out and playing. It's really hard to get up and in a rhythm especially with the way it panned out. There's definitely a lot we need to work on.
"This is the competition. When teams rock up and want to play they'll play, you can't take any side in this competition lightly.
"Credit to Orange CYMS today, they played some good football in some awful conditions. We were lucky enough to get there in the end."
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