On Saturday morning, the Goulburn Bulldogs Under 19 side extended their unbeaten streak to five matches, with a 48-12 win over the Crookwell Green Devils at the Workers Arena.
While on paper it looks like a fairly comprehensive win, it was far from simple for the Bulldogs, as Crookwell have improved enormously over the course of the season and threatened a comeback in the final stages of the match.
The Bulldogs leapt out to an early lead, and by half time the match looked long gone for the Green Devils.
However, roughly halfway through the second term, Crookwell managed to break through Goulburn's defence for their first try of the day.
Shortly after, the Green Devils launched a long kick on the final tackle of the set and, thanks to a good bounce, Josh Paterson was able to outrun the Bulldogs wingers and cross for his and Crookwell's second try.
After slotting a phenomenal conversion from the sideline, Paterson looked to be dragging Crookwell back into contention for the match.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Goulburn then managed to stem the flow of tries and added a couple of their own in the dying minutes to make the final deficit 32 points.
Goulburn coach Adam McLaurie praised Crookwell for their improvement, and said that his team were hard-pressed to hold them off.
"I thought they'd be improved, which they were," McLaurie said.
"We did them by by 70-odd points in the trial, and today it was 48-12.
"They improved a lot, and they stuck with us for the first 10-15 [minutes], which is good for us. We got through that wrestle and rolled them in the last few minutes of the first half."
McLaurie also lauded his players for their ability to bounce back when it appeared that the Green Devils were making a comeback.
The match was also pleasing to McLaurie because the Bulldogs began the match at a high intensity, which was an issue for the side in 2018.
"I'm massive on attitude, and that starts at training and in our warmup," he said.
"I've been keeping an eye on that and the boys have improved. The boys have only started slow once this year, and they learned from that."
While you're with us...
Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up here.