THE Leeton Greens have stormed home to blow the Bidgee Hurricanes out of the Group 20 season, winning their sudden-death minor semi-final by 14-points at No. 1 Oval on Saturday.
In what proved to be a promoter's dream, the two heated rivals squared off with their respective seasons on the line, but it was the home side's clinical second half which earnt them the win.
After both sides were wasteful with possession in the second half, Leeton slowly turned the screws on the joint-venture side as they kept them at an arm's length to book a preliminary final clash with West Wyalong.
Despite falling short of their ultimate goal, Bidgee's first season in Group 20 has still brought a measure of success, with captain-coach Chris Bamford confirming yesterday he will be back to lead the side in 2013.
However, the only side the Greens are focusing on are the Mallee Men with president Steve Preston saying their forwards deserve much of the credit for the win.
"We were getting to our kicks more as the game went on, but really the forwards laid the platform and they were getting good yards through the middle because we probably weren't running directly," Preston said.
"But in the second half our forwards started to dominate their pack and the backs played off of that."
Leeton was forced to reshuffle its side when fullback Sam Eisenhut was taken away in am ambulance after an accidental knee to the head with Matt Grundy slotting into fullback
Both sides were then down a man after a brawl erupted after a Dan Hyde try, with Leeton's Andrew Smith and Bidgee's Troy Preston sent to the sin-bin for their part in the fight.
With Leeton leading narrowly 10-6 at the break, both side's still fancied their chances but Preston said experience was the difference as his side ran away with the game.
"We knew they (Bidgee) would be playing with a lot of adrenaline and they had a good support group there, so we knew if we could wear all of that out of them, that we could beat them one-on-one ability-wise," he said.
Hurricanes captain-coach Chris Bamford lamented his lack of impact in the game, saying muscle spasms meant he was unable to stride out fully.
"I was a bit disappointed personally because I picked up a bit of an injury so I really only played about half of the game ," Bamford said. "I was just annoyed that I couldn't end on a good note, if it was just a loss I could have handled that.
"But with me not being 100 per cent I felt like I let the boys down and I was a big part of the loss."
Bamford said his side just could not break through for back-to-back tries in the second half that could have put them back in the hunt for the win.
"We were still in it at half-time even though there were a few mistakes, the boys defended pretty well I thought," he said.
"But when we were got close in the second half, maybe back to eight points, they (Leeton) would score another try and then they'd be out of reach again.
"But we'll learn from it and be better for it next year, I've signed on for another year, I can see the potential in the boys and it's a good club so I'm happy to be coming back."