SIXTEEN points in the last 15 minutes was enough for Group 2 to steal a 28-all draw against Group 3 in their representative clash at Macksville on Saturday.
Group 3 appeared destined for victory when they led 28-12 with a quarter of the match to go in their selection trial for the North Coast Bulldogs under-23 side for next year's Country Championships.
Coach Dan Kemp admitted their inexperience proved costly in the closing stages.
"We were a bit immature and tried to get out of trouble with one play rather than a couple of plays, but you get that with young kids," he said.
"It wasn't the greatest feeling after the game, but our average age was about 19 so we had a pretty young side."
Old Bar front rower Jared Wooster put his best foot forward for selection in the Bulldogs side with a strong performance up front.
He was ably supported by Port Sharks prop Mitch Smith in the engine room.
"We were on top when those two boys were out there," Kemp said.
"When they went off (Group 2) were a bit too strong through the middle; they'd win the first ruck or two and then play off the back of that."
Taree City hooker Oscar Carey and Port Sharks utility Mitch Wilbow also had strong matches with Wilbow a standout.
"Mitch was probably best player on the ground whoever you spoke to," Kemp said.
Macleay Valley backrower Jesse Douglas and Wauchope halfback Tristan Scott also did their chances of selection for the Bulldogs side no harm.
The final under-23 North Coast Bulldogs side will be confirmed in the next week with players required to train during the off-season before breaking for Christmas and resuming next January to prepare for the Country Championships.
It is proposed to the first championship round will be played on Saturday February 29 in conjunction with the Canterbury Bulldogs and Canberra Raiders NRL trial at Regional Stadium.
"It's a really good opportunity for a couple of these boys - and the coach too, whoever it may be - to rub shoulders with the Bulldogs next year when they come up here," Kemp said.
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