The Dubbo Rhinos New Holland cup campaign has been dealt a crushing setback at Apex Oval after a lopsided loss to the visiting Parkes Boars.
The Boars left Dubbo as the victors after time was called on the game due to an injury, but there was no doubting the scoreboard, which read 27 - 3 as the Rhinos and Boards trudged off a rain-soaked field twelve minutes early.
The wet and wild conditions, combined with pressure from both sides, saw penalties and errors pile up in the early stages of the match, with Parkes Luke Bevans taking every opportunity to kick for goal and getting Parkes out to a 9 - 0 lead after twenty minutes.
After a costly dropped ball near the Parkes try-line, the Rhinos were kept on the defensive by a wide running attack down their left flank, where Connor Farrer found space and planted a try in the corner to push the score out to 14 - 0.
The troubles didn't end there for the Rhinos, with Jovilisi Tawake being sent off shortly after for dangerous play.
Rhinos captain Matt Neill didn't want to make any excuses in the wake of the loss, but questioned the decision to send off a player given the circumstances.
"We talk and talk about discipline and he knows his job and he knows what we expect of him, I don't want to dwell on it too much, but I don't think it was the fairest decision," Neill said.
From in front of the posts, Bevan added on three more points at the half-time bell.
Boars captain Joshua Miles credited his team for remaining disciplined and ensuring their set-pieces went off without a hitch as the Rhinos struggled to play catch-up.
"We stuck to our structure well, and I think we kept our set-pieces a little bit stronger than they did," Miles said.
"With the weather conditions, it changed our game a bit, usually we get into things and look to score tries a bit quicker, but at the end of the day, a win's a win."
Kevin Greenway put points on the board for the Rhinos with a penalty goal shortly into the second half, but the penalty goals and another try from the Boars Pat Jones pushed them out of reach for a Rhinos side that was quickly finding injuries piling up and opportunities slipping away.
The game was called when Greenway was left injured after an exchange near the Rhinos try-line, with an ambulance called to the field at Apex.
Greenway, one of the standouts on the Rhinos side during their loss alongside Viliame Turuva, will be a sorely missed spot in the Rhinos playing roster next time out, something Neill acknowledged.
"Hopefully it's not serious, because there's some improvement for him to do, I think given a full season, his improvement would be really significant," Neill said.