The Bega Roosters fell victim to something of a coup by a vigorous Eden Tigers outfit on Sunday.
The Tigers were clawing at their finals chances in a must-win scenario against the Roosters, but came away with a two-point win 18-16.
Earlier results had been mixed with Eden claiming the women’s league-tag 12-10 in a great showing, while Bega’s 18s scored a 20-12 win.
The reserve grade showdown was called off at half-time with the Roosters well in front 40-0 as the Bermagui-Cobargo Eels fell short of playing numbers.
The referee made the decision to scrap the second half with the Eels trailing heavily and dropping to just eight players if play continued due to an early ankle injury to their centre.
However, it was the first grade fixture that drew the crowd with the Tigers needing the result to stay in Group 16 finals contention.
And the Roosters were on the back foot early.
The Bega club had pushed right up to Eden’s 10 where James Bower-Scott fired a well-weighted chip kick towards the corner.
However, Eden bolter Joel Grewar plucked the ball mid-air and out-sprinted his Bega opponents in a 100-metre dash for a solo try effort under the posts.
Bega replied shortly after, pushing the right edge with centre Declan Bower-Scott crashing through the defence – but the conversion attempt flagged off to the left of the posts.
The Roosters again pushed up on the right and James found room to squeeze through, giving the Roosters a two-point lead as his kick again faded left.
The Tigers struck back through Matt Whitehead after Grewar again made a break from 40-metres out, but was charged down with a clever offload 10-metres out giving Whitehead the chance to score.
A second try to James before Lee Fuller joined the scoring meant the Roosters were leading 16-10 at the break.
However, the second half proved grinding and hard for both clubs, but it was Eden pushing through some offensive efforts with tries to Matt and Toby Whitehead giving them the two-point buffer.
Earlier, the league-tag was a fantastically even match with both sides providing solid expansive football and some polished set plays.
Eden winger Angela Blackburn was a force to be reckoned with as she ducked and weaved through the Bega line to score both of Eden’s converted tries.
Bega speedster Elyse Philipzen scored a late try, but an earlier missed conversion from Taelar Williams’ try kept the Chicks two points shy of their hosts.
This weekend the Tigers face an uphill battle when they travel to Bombala to meet the Blue Heelers.
It will be another must-win battle for the Tigers with senior games to go ahead at the Bombala Showground from 2.15pm.