WESTERN Rams put up a strong fight against the visiting North Sydney Bears in Sunday's game at Carrington Park, finishing well in a high scoring 42-26 defeat.
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Two familiar faces, Cody Godden and Keelan Bresac took to the field on the weekend representing Lithgow.
Rams scored the last two tries of the game in a dominant fourth quarter but their slow start would come back to haunt them.
Western coach Cameron Greenhalgh was pleased to see his team fight hard until the last minute.
"We aren't going to make semis now so all I'm looking for from the boys is effort, and we had that today. If we kicked a few more goals that might have made things closer, they might have panicked and given us a bit more ball," he said.
"A couple of decisions went their way but that's footy. If we played like we did today over at some of our other games then we would have got the two points, for sure. North Sydney kept coming, and they're a professional side, so I've got to be happy with the effort."
Former NRL star and North Sydney coach Jason Taylor was more impressed by the Bathurst weather than his side's finish to the game.
"Today's been awesome, and how good's this weather? We were disappointed leaving Sydney because it was so warm but we couldn't have enjoyed it more. The problem was that we let too many tries in," he said.
"The Rams have done really well. I've been watching their games closely. They've been like that all year - scoring some really great tries, and playing good footy, but they've just let too many in. That was the problem for them again today.
"Defence is something we've worked hard on. Up until today we'd conceded four tries only once so that's disappointing. When the scoreboard rattles up for yourself then you can take the eye off the ball a bit."
Rams got off to a dream start when, on the back a penalty, they worked the ball deep into Bears territory and found the breakthrough after just three minutes.
Harry Siejka put a grubber through to Jackson Brien, who was able to plant the ball down just inches away from the dead ball line.
The hosts then had to weather a storm of Bears offence close to their line and eventually it gave way in the 16th minute when five-eighth Coby Thomas spun off his defender and dived between the uprights.
Bears managed to push the advantage out to 10-4 at the first break when Thomas easily slipped through the defence and that was followed up by James Tuitahi's try early in the second quarter.
Rams responded quickly when Jesse Wighton finished off a play that began with a 70 metre run from Mitch Andrews.
Bears gave themselves breathing room again when their fullback Josh Bergamin made a strong run of his own, allowing Sione Hopoate to stroll over on the wing during the next play.
The teams continued to trade tries early in the second half, with Andrews scoring before Michael Pearsall responded.
But three straight Bears tries to former Orange star Toby Westcott, Hopoate and Connagh Takairangi put the game out of the Rams' reach at 38-12.
Despite that, the Western men kept the intensity high in attack and found consolation efforts through Wighton, Bailey Hartwig and Andrews in the last quarter.
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