Lithgow Workies fans lost a few fingernails in the final moments of their game against Cowra at Tony Luchetti Oval on Saturday, June 29.
The Workies had completely dominated in the first half, going into the break 18 points up. Two quick tries out of the gates left the Magpies floundering at 36-6 in the opening minutes of the second.
But then an intercept try to Jo Bugg kick-started a fightback that brought them right back into the game.
Workies coach Graeme Osborne said the second half was a major lapse in concentration from the team, which allowed Cowra to lay on 24 points to bring the final score to 42-30.
"I think a lot of them thought, when we got to 42, they put the cue in the rack and thought, this is easy, and sat back on their laurels a bit," he said.
"You can't do that against a side that plays in grand finals consistently."
Osborne said a lag in the first half, which was noticeable in the team's defence, was ramped up in the second.
It would be major talking point the week leading up to their next clash against Oberon on Oberon's home turf.
"First grade footballers can tackle, it's more about their attitude and their concentration," Osborne said.
Despite the second half, Osborne said there were plenty of positives to come out of the game, including scoring 42 points against a side that played in last year's grand final.
He praised the performances of Keelan Bresac, Josh Howarth, Corey Willmott, Brendon Van Veen, Jack Sullivan, Jono Van Veen, Andrew Bain and Tui Oloapu.
"The area that excites me is that we've got plenty of improvement in us. That's the good thing about it," Osborne said.
"We've won the game 42-30 and we're probably playing 50 per cent of our potential."
Cowra's captain Blake Tidswell said the team continued to be a bit lacking everywhere on the field.
"If we could forget the first half, not too bad," he said of the team's performance.
"We've been struggling in patches of our game for the last few weeks now.
"In defence we kept letting them get such a big roll on and couldn't come back from it.
"Second half, we did fix that a bit. We seemed to have a lot more aggression in the middle and come out on top defensively and played off the back of that."
"If we could figure out how to get that into 80 minutes, we'd be right."
He praised the work of Jo Bugg, whose intercept try lifted his team.
Tidswell said the team had been focusing on structured play, but may need to start "just playing what came", as they did in the second half of their match against the Workies.
"We need to play 'heads up' footy," he said.
LITHGOW WORKIES 42 (Brendon Van Veen, Jono Van Veen, Eli Felton 2, Greg Behan, Dan Bain, Tui Oloapu, goals Josh Howarth 7) def COWRA MAGPIES 24 (Caley Mok, Warren Williams, Jo Bugg, Blake Tidswell, goals Caley Mok 5)
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