In the Blowes Clothing Cup major semi-final last month, the Forbes Platypi stormed back into the contest and stole victory from the Bathurst Bulldogs in extra time.
The two sides met again on Saturday in the preliminary final and this time it was Bulldogs which produced the comeback to book to a grand final date with Orange Emus.
The men in blue and gold were down 10-0 early, the Platypi shot out of the blocks in front of a bumper home crowd at Grinsted Oval.
But Bulldogs rallied, lifting in defence in a strong display while a non-stop performance from scrumhalf Kurt Weekes helped the Bathurst side turn it on in the second half on the way to a 27-20 win.
Weekes was in everything, full of running from the back of scrums and rucks while he also pestered the Platypi players with his in-your-face style of play.
He also booted two penalties and three important conversions.
“We came back really well. The last two weeks have been big defensive efforts and we’ve really lifted the intensity,” Bathurst coach Al Fryer said after the win, his side’s first over Forbes in 2017.
“It’s pretty lucky. They (Forbes) had beat us three times this season so it was good to finally get it over them.
“It builds a bit of momentum into Emus next week.”
Early on in the match, it was all Forbes.
Backs Adrian Cole and Brad McMillan both scored to make it 10-0 but the Bathurst players finally got on the same page in defence and didn’t allow any more points before half time, despite plenty of pressure.
Right before the break Bulldogs got on the board against the run of play.
The ball was smartly shifted from right to left and Cameron Sinclair found enough room to race over out wide.
Weekes converted it and then shortly after the break, the energetic number nine booted a penalty to make it 10-all.
From there the visitors took over, scoring back-to-back converted tries through Josh Weekes and Sam Macpherson to make it a 14-point game.
Another Weekes penalty sandwiched two late Forbes tries, which turned out to be mere consolation.
“The defence was good but I thought we, especially in the second half, managed to build pressure pretty well and put on a couple of tries,” Fryer said.
The coach added he was looking forward to testing his side against the minor premiership-winning Emus outfit in Sunday’s grand final at Orange’s Endeavour Oval.
In their two prior meetings this season, both sides won a game each.