"How good are scrums."
That's what Mudgee Wombats captain Tom Dunstan had to say after his side's gut-wrenching 24-19 loss to CSU Bathurst on Saturday.
While the Batties arguably have the best scrums in the 2019 New Holland Cup, they weren't enough to seal a round 12 victory.
"We had plenty of chances to get over the try line but we just couldn't finish how we wanted to," Dunstan said.
It's never easy to walk away from games like that, but there were many positives.Mudgee Wombat captain, Tom Dunstan
It took 19 minutes after kick-off before Mudgee's Jack Brown dove over the line to score the first five points of the game, which was successfully converted by Brian O'Reilly.
David Jessiman was next to cross the line to bring the home side's lead to 12 before two successfully converted tries and a drop goal brought CSU to a 17-12 break at half-time.
Mudgee's Harry Lee clocked his one and only try of the day seven minutes after returning from the break, which was also converted by Brian O'Reilly.
However, it wasn't enough with CSU scoring another try to walk away with a 24-19 win.
"It was unreal, probably the hardest game we've had all year I reckon," CSU's Jack Keppel said.
We hardly touched the ball, I don't know how we got away with it but it was a really good win for us.CSU Bathurst, Jack Keppel
"Mudgee have the best scrums in the comp so we just had to hang in there."
With both teams hosting a diverse set of strengths, Dunstan says while it made for an interesting game, there were things to take away and learn from.
"Their strengths are obviously their backs and our strengths are our forwards so it's very much two different games that we play, it's always an interesting game to watch," he said.
Finishing really let us down today, a lot of drop balls in their red zones, plenty of opportunities to score and we couldn't quite complete.
Dunstan says the red and blue outfit are hoping to remain in the 'winning circle' to face CSU once again in the finals.
"We've got to get back in the winning circle and keep in that third spot so we can get a home final in the first round," he said.
"Hopefully we'll get another crack at them in the finals."
- CSU BATHURST 24 (Regan Hughes, Nicholas Greenberg, name withheld tries; Jack Keppel 3 conversions, drop goal) def MUDGEE WOMBATS 19 (Jack Brown, David Jessiman, Harry Lee tries; Brian O'Reilly 2 conversions)