Group 20 rugby league
RUGBY league can be a fickle game.
For the matter of one or two metres, the Waratah Tigers could have lost yesterday's Group 20 clash with the Bidgee Hurricanes.
Trailing 32-28 with three minutes left, Bidgee halfback Daniel Johnson nearly pulled off a 40/20 kick, but the ball dribbled over the sideline past the Tigers' goal line.
If the ball had bounced over the sideline in play, the Hurricanes would have had a scrum feed just 10 metres out from the opponent's line.
Instead the Tigers received the ball and the 38-28 win was sealed when hooker Sam Rauluni scored a try.
However, chances of a Waratah victory seemed unlikely early - particularly with four key players backing up from rep duty.
After the match, captain-coach Kose Lelei admitted the Tigers were scrappy and "everyone was asleep".
The Tigers worked hard in defence, but five repeat sets of pressure finally showed when Hurricane Sean Scott dived over.
"It took them scoring to wake us up," Lelei said.
The momentum flipped on its head late in the first half when the Waratahs scored three tries in the blink of an eye.
Attractive play led to Solomone Fillimoelala and Viliami Ngu crossing over, before prop Mike Ioapo barrelled through Bidgee's defence.
Ioapo's try helped the Tigers establish a 16-6 advantage at half-time.
The Hurricanes started the second half with a try to Troy Preston, but their opponents replied almost immediately.
Enoch Tia dived over before fullback Johnny Teleaga scored a scintillating try to help the Tigers take a 26-10 advantage.
Bidgee winger Jordan Burley scored a try against the run of play, before opposite number Johnny Iolohea replicated the favour.
The Hurricanes hit back strongly in the final 10 minutes with tries to Gary Ingram and Scott, before Raulini secured victory on the siren.
The win was set up by strong performances from Teleaga, Moahoni and Kose Lelei, Ioapo and Fili Fili.
Sean Scott was a standout for Bidgee, scoring two tries.
Lelei said it took a great team effort to hold out the Hurricanes.
"They're good, it was a good challenge," he said.