The boot of Jake Styles proved decisive on Saturday as the Dubbo Kangaroos scored a drought-breaking win at the home of the Orange Emus.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Styles booted two late penalties at a freezing Endeavour Oval, the first to level things up with four minutes remaining and the second right on full-time to secure a memorable 13-10 win.
The result made it four straight wins for the Roos and strengthens the side's grip on second spot on the Blowes Cup behind dominant leaders, Bathurst Bulldogs.
It was also the Roos' first win at Endeavour in more than a decade.
"Pretty awesome," Styles said to CluchTV at full-time.
"That's a gutsy win. It got a bit nervous at times and they've got some big boys running hard but we held in and a few calls went our way there at the end and we got away with it."
The first half of the match was all about Emus but despite the men in green making the better chances, they only held a 3-0 lead at the break after a Dan Jackson penalty.
The Roos got through a mountain of defence and were especially impressive when they were down a man due to yet another yellow card for representative centre Tim Beach.
The word around Endeavour was Emus coach Nigel Staniforth told his troops during the half-time break there was no way the Roos would be able to keep up that defensive effort and chances would come as the visitors tired.
But the Roos held firm.
In the 57th minute the Emus opted to take a shot at goal following a penalty but Jackson's attempt was waved away.
From the ensuing drop-kick from the Roos, Beach whacked Louis Carr after he kicked the ball and a scuffle broke out between the rival players.
Beach was penalised but, yet again, the Emus' possession came to nothing.
The Roos got their chance soon after following an Emus error in their own half.
In a perfect set-play, a Tim Koerstz wrap around led to Ben Knaggs putting Will Anderson through a gap with a lovely short ball. Anderson raced away to score and Styles' boot made it 7-3 with just over 10 minutes to play.
The Roos' joy, however, was short-lived as Clarry Pratten came off the bench for Emus and provided a real impact.
Pratten's reward for hard-running was a try from close range and Jackson's boot made it a 10-7 game.
Time was ticking down but Styles nailed one penalty after the Emus were caught offside and then, in the dying stages, he stepped up again and nailed his shot from 40m out to secure a statement-making win from the Roos.
"That's a dream complete right there. That's all you want," Styles said of his match-winning moment.
Styles has quickly returned as a key man for the Roos after missing the start of the season.
He went into Saturday's game having scored 11 points on his own in the opening minutes a week prior to lead the Roos to a strong win over Orange City.
Saturday's result at Endeavour Oval was also hugely satisfying given Emus had beaten the Roos 14-7 in Dubbo earlier this season.
Roos captain Koerstz added he was immensely proud of his troops for their efforts against an Emus side which never stopped coming.
The defensive aspect of the Roos' game has been a real point of pride for coach Paul Elliott in recent weeks and just 22 points have been conceded in the past three games.
The result also sets up a bumper top-of-the-table battle with Bulldogs next weekend at No. 1 Oval.
The Bulldogs head into that match after a 79-7 mauling of Forbes on Saturday but next round's match will also be the Roos' Old Boys' Day, which always adds to the atmosphere at No. 1 Oval.
Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app here. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.