Despite trailing 10-5 at the break, Mudgee Wombats’ second tier side flew home during Sunday’s New Holland Agriculture Cup elimination finals match, outlasting Dubbo Rhinos 18-10.
The flurry of 13 unanswered points was highlighted by Batties’ winger Connor Pascoe who scored his second of two tries in the latter half, pouncing on a short-side nudge from Matt Blackham.
The winger scored both his tries off kicks against Rhinos and Mudgee forward Jamie Bayliss said it was a by-product of their number ten’s outing.
“Connor played brilliantly,” Bayliss said.
“He read exactly what sticks (Brian O’Reilly) was doing – he played brilliantly as well.
“We can’t fault what the backs were doing. They were running the ball hard and they did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
Reflecting on the opening 35, Bayliss admitted his troops were somewhat rattled to enter the sheds five points adrift.
“At half time it seemed like we were really nervous and still hadn’t gotten rid of those pre-game jitters,” he said.
“We had a talk about it and said we needed to communicate more and in the second half we came out and started doing it – running the football, communicating better. It gelled and it worked.”
Not only did Pascoe rise to the occasion on Sunday but so did vice captain Matt Blackman who opened the home side’s account in the second half, before setting up his winger to ice the game.
The Wombats will head to Parkes on August 11 for a grand final qualifying match against Narromine, a side that surprisingly fell 15-13 to Blayney in the first-versus-second fixture on Sunday.
“Blayney had already beaten them twice this year,” Bayliss said.
“We definitely have the squad to go all the way. We just need to go into next week like it’s another game. We know how strong they are and we know where their strengths are.
“We’ve both got a neutral ground to play on which is an advantage for us but we’ve just got to go out there and play our game and last time we did that against them it nearly worked.”