The Dungog Warriors dreams of premiership glory were left laying on the turf of Harker Oval after going down 24 points to 18 against Carrington last Saturday.
Dungog did a mighty job having to win four sudden death games to make the premiership decider but fell at the final hurdle.
All the players tried their hearts out and should be proud of their efforts on the day and throughout the season.
The wind was again a factor and Dungog were forced to run into it in the first half.
The game got off to a sensational start with Dungog receiving the ball and a heavy collision between Dave Seers and the Carrington prop resulting in the match being held up for several minutes as the Pirates prop was attended to.
When play got back under way it was Carrington who started to enjoy the better of play completing its sets and with the aid of a few penalties were forcing Dungog to defend constantly and it proved too much and back to back penalties had the pirates crossing for the games first try and a 6-0 lead.
The Pirates extended their lead midway through the half when their big No 20 beat several Dungog defenders in a 40 metre run for a try.
Dungog had barely been up the Carrington end of the field but finally after getting their first penalty of the game were able to spend some time in the oppositions half and were rewarded when James Foot got the Warriors on the board when he crossed out wide for an unconverted try.
Dungog were starting to look threatening but things went pear shaped with a mistake from the restart gave the Pirates the ball and four tackles later they were in for a converted try and a 12-point lead.
Dungog had found themselves in this position a couple of times in the semi-final series and managed to turn it around and looked to have bridged the gap when Mitch Evans was put through a yawning gap only to be called back and Dungog given a penalty.
James Foot made no mistake when on the back of the penalty crashed over for his second try which had Dungog going to the break 16-8 down.
With the wind behind them in the second half Dungog needed to get away to a good start and they did this when James Foot and Aaron Cottom capitilised on a Pirates error for Cottom to score.
Cody Warwick put the Warriors level at the 50 minute mark when he was on the end of some good passes and when Phil Badior converted Dungog had hit the lead 18-16.
Dungog seemed to be gaining the upper hand but found themselves behind when on the back of a dubious penalty the Pirates scored a soft try from dummy half .
There was still plenty of time for the Warriors but for the rest of the game they had trouble building any momentum with their hands letting them down on more than one occasion when attacking the Pirates line.
Hooker Daniel Bates was getting Dungog in good position with some clever work from dummy half and the Warriors went close to scoring on several occasions but try as they might couldn’t get across the Carrington line.
Dungog had one last crack inside the last 5 minutes when they received a penalty but to no avail.
As it was Carrington scored on the last play of the day to wrap up the grand final 24-18.
A disappointing end for the Warriors and their supporters but a great effort to get where they did from fifth spot and if they all stick together there is no reason why they can’t go one better next year
Carrington 24 5 tries 2 goals
Dungog 18 J Foot 2, A Cottom, C Warwick tries. P Badior 1 goal
RSL Best Forward and Players Player Daniel Bates, RSL Best Back Aaron Cottom. Rays Reserve Wes Neilson
The committee of the Dungog Warriors would like to thank the players, supporters and sponsors for all they have done for the club this season.
See you all at the presentation night at the Dungog RSL on Saturday, September 24, at 6 pm