It was a true tale of two halves for the Griffith Blacks at Exies Oval on Saturday.
The Blacks played their last game for two weeks with back-to-back byes against Albury and made the most of some early field position with Hamish Wrafter getting over in the third minute.
The home side was able to push the lead out to 12 points before Albury started to get some field possession.
They were unable to get anything out of the prolonged period inside the Blacks 22-metre line, and the Blacks were able to go up the other end to see Taliliotu Uoifalelahi cross with five minutes remaining in the first half.
The Blacks had a chance to push the lead out to 21 points heading into halftime, but Emanuel Dutack missed a late penalty go to see the Griffith side leading 19-0 at the break.
Albury was able to make the most of the Blacks poor handling in the early stages of the second half to get over nine minutes after the break.
In what turned into a scrappy second half, the Steamers were able to score the next two tries to see the margin close to within two points.
With four minutes left in the game, Bryn Francis was able to pull off an intercept and race away to score what looked like the match-winning try, but there would be one final twist in the tale.
The Blacks were looking to wind down the clock and looked to put the ball into touch to bring the game to its conclusion.
Instead, the side was penalised for deliberately kicking the ball out on the full, and Albury made the most of that gift to break through and score under the post, and with the successful conversion, the game ended at 24-all.
Blacks coach Chris McGregor was a frustrated figure at halftime, having seen his side squander a 19-0 lead.
"It's the same as it has been for most of the season," he said.
"In the first half, we were able to play the most composed forty minutes we have played all year and stuck to our structures but in the second half went away from them completely. We just weren't enthusiastic in the second half."
McGregor admitted he had hoped his side would hold on when Francis crossed.
"I knew there was still four minutes to go, but I thought we would have played it out from there, but we gave them another opportunity," he said.
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