CYMS’ captain-coach Mick Sullivan labelled his side’s attacking efforts as ‘clunky’, but was still happy to overcome the fast-finishing Mudgee Dragons on Sunday.
Bolstered by the inclusion of former NRL star Chris Grevsmuhl, the men in green held off a late surge from the Red V to secure a 22-16 win.
“Mudgee were whacking us today. They’re one of the more physical sides,” Sullivan said.
“We probably only completed half of our sets but it was a great hit-out for us against a tough team.”
Grevsmuhl’s fingerprints were all over CYMS’ last try as the versatile back rower produced an early candidate for offload of the year.
“I just want to have a bit of fun this year and try to take some of the pressure off Mick,” Grevsmuhl said.
“We don’t have as much structure as other teams but we just play footy and try to enjoy it.”
CYMS looked out of sorts in the opening exchanges but were rewarded for their defensive efforts when Ryan Griffin crashed over for the game’s opening four-pointer.
A strong breeze prevented Brock McGarity from adding the extras but the traveling side had the early advantage.
With 10 minutes left in the first stanza, Lachie Munro found himself in the right place at the right time, pouncing on a loose ball and giving CYMS a 10-0 lead after a McGarity conversion.
The first 20 minutes was full of Mudgee attacking chances but CYMS ended the first half with their tails up and went into the sheds two scores up.
With less than four minutes gone in the second half Joe Lasagavibau became the third CYMS’ player to expose Mudgee’s interior defence, slicing through for his side’s third try of the game and stretching the lead to 16-0.
Mudgee had their heads down until Mick Sullivan put his next attacking kick out on the full, giving the home side a chance they took with both hands as Nathan Orr jumped on a grubber and narrowed the gap to 16-6.
The 2017 champions re-assumed control when Tom Satterthwaite found himself on the end of a well-worked try that started with a Chris Grevsmuhl offload – Sullivan added the extras to make it 22-6.
From that moment onwards it was all Mudgee as Lee Hicks was the beneficiary of a well-worked backline shift that put the centre over in the corner.
The scoreboard read 22-10 when the jack of all trades Chanse Burgess put up a towering bomb that only Jared Robinson wanted a piece of as the skipper scooted over under the sticks, making it a six-point margin with four minutes to go.
Mudgee spent the dying stages knocking on the door but when CYMS dove on a Tom Lawson grubber, the siren sounded.
ORANGE CYMS 22 (Ryan Griffin, Lachie Munro, Joe Lasagavibau, Tom Satterthwaite tries; Brock McGarity 2, Mick Sullivan 1 goals) def MUDGEE DRAGONS 16 (Nathan Orr, Lee Hicks, Jared Robinson tries; Jack Beasley 2 goals).