If there was one moment which optimised Sunday’s Group 11 top of the table clash it came with 12 minutes to go when CYMS captain and stalwart Luke Jenkins carted the ball up only to be hit under the ribs by Nyngan prop Rod Coates and driven into the turf.
Nyngan was too big, too strong and too committed on Sunday as it breathed life into the 2017 Group 11 competition with an outstanding 14-0 win over the previously undefeated Dubbo CYMS.
All the points came in the first half before Nyngan, cheered home by a huge amount of support at Larkin Oval, raced out of the blocks before producing one of the great defensive efforts in the second stanza as the Fishies came at them time and time again.
“As a club, that was probably one the best wins they have ever had,” Tigers captain-coach Stewart Mills said of his side and the fans.
“We had all the old boys down here and that was all for them today.
“We knew it was going to be tough and we made it hard for ourselves but we got there in the end.”
CYMS captain Luke Jenkins denied the loss was a concerning one for his side but said it was a wake-up call and probably one the team needed after countless dominant victories.
The Tigers produced an intense effort for the full 80 minutes, something CYMS has seen little of in an opposition this season.
“It’s pretty disappointing but full credit to Nyngan. They played great and they’re definitely going to be hard to beat,” he said, with a potential mouth-watering major semi-final rematch in three weeks.
“We would have liked to have played a bit better footy out here today but if you play games like this every week you’re going to improve while when you’re winning by 50 you can forget your weaknesses and we got taught a lesson today.”
Nyngan began the match perfectly, with a Jacob Neill bomb leading to a forced drop out inside three minutes and shortly after workhorse Benny Cokanasgia muscled his way across to open the scoring.
The Tigers soon received back-to-back penalties and opted to take the two on the second occasion and Sam Simmons’ boot made it 8-0.
The match, which had plenty of feeling all game and was played in a real finals atmosphere, turned into an arm wrestle and there was moments of push and shove before CYMS got into a fine attacking opportunity.
But the ball went to ground 5m from the line and winger Simmons scooped the ball up and couldn’t be caught, racing away to set up a 14-0 lead.
That was how the score remained until the break, and Nyngan’s strong defence is the final minutes before half time was a hint of what was to come.
CYMS forced a dropout early but Nyngan stood firm and that was basically the tale of the second stanza.
The Fishies threw everything at the line with Jenkins, Alex Bonham, Brad Pickering and Kieran Cubby-Shipp each trying to steer CYMS around at times but the Tigers didn’t give in.
They didn’t help themselves with a number of dropped balls while discipline also became an issue.
“I think we completed about 10 from 30 or something like that and they had about 10 sets in a row on our line but we still just turned up each time,” Mills said.
When the final whistle went the crowd was in raptures, with cheers and honking horns filling the air around Larkin Oval.
Mills was proud of his entire side but was particularly pleased with his props.
Fan favourite Todd Rope and, in particular, fellow front rower Rod Coates got through a mountain of work and bent the CYMS line over and over again.
The likes of Cokanasgia and Tunui Maurangi were also strong and never let up but Mills said it was his number eight and ten who got his side going.
“I think both our front-rowers set the platform and then we’ve got outside backs who work off that,” he said, as the “Millsy, Millsy” chant went up from the Tigers faithful.
Centre Jone Yacadrau was particularly effective running the ball out of his own end while Brett Howard has proved a real find at fullback and wingers Sam Simmons and Mitch Rixon have proved consistent performers.
Nyngan faces Westside in the final round while CYMS, after the rare occurrence of being held scoreless, must dust itself off and take on a Forbes side which defeated Parkes in a 30-28 classic on Sunday.
NYNGAN TIGERS 14 (Benny Cokanasgia, Sam Simmons tries; Simmons 3 goals) defeated DUBBO CYMS 0