The Macleay Valley Mustangs played practically the entire 80-minutes against the Taree City Bulls on Sunday with 12-men but still managed to hold on for a narrow 38-34 victory.
In the opening minute of the contest, Mustangs fullback Owen Blair attempted a tackle on a Bulls player which went horribly wrong.
Blair performed a spear tackle and the referee sent him from the field.
Mustangs coach Russell Lardner was content with the decision but questioned why a later dangerous tackle from a Taree player didn't receive the same punishment.
"Owen put him in a position where the outcome could have been worse and he landed head first so I can understand the referee sending him off," Lardner told the Argus.
"But not long after, a Bulls player did a crusher tackle on our player, Nate Welsh, and an ambulance had to come and take him to the hospital and all we received was a penalty. I think he should have been sent off too."
Concerns remain for Welsh, who Lardner said still wasn't able to feel his neck and arms at 8.30pm last night.
Despite digging deep to play the remainder of the contest down a man and holding on for a win, Lardner was disappointed in his side's lack of focus.
"I had warned the boys not to take this game cheaply but they didn't listen," Lardner said.
"We turned up just expecting to win and our lack of discipline almost cost us.
"We were in front the whole way but they kept closing the gap on us and we escaped with the win in the end."
Lardner credited a few players for their consistent performances and also said young gun Harold Thompson had a solid game.
"Conrad Lardner, Tyler and Richie Roberts, Chris Piper and Stephan Blair were good for us," Lardner said.
"I want to thank Harold who stepped up from the Under-18.5s to play hooker and on the wing, he did an excellent job.
"Stephan crossed for a hat-trick and continues to be dangerous with the ball."
Owen will face the Group Three Rugby League judiciary later this week as he faces a potential suspension.
The Mustangs remain in equal first position with Wauchope as the side's have reached the halfway point of the Group Three season.
Macleay Valley will host the Old Bar Pirates at Verge St Oval this Sunday.
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