Thirty seconds. That's how agonisingly close the Port Makos Mixed Masters came to NSW State Cup glory on Sunday, December 8.
The over 40s side were leading the highly-fancied Peninsula Piranhas 2-1 in the decider when a late try saw the visiting side level the scores.
And that try was scored with just 30 seconds remaining in the clash.
The Peninsula outfit went 1-0 up early on in the clash. But with some possession, the Makos started to mount plenty of pressure on the Peninsula line.
At least four try-scoring opportunities went begging for the Makos.
Despite the fatigue of playing over three days, the Makos finally got over the line when coach Bec Howard scored in the corner. That left the scores level of 1-1.
The home side went close again shortly after but were denied by the touchline.
The Makos took the lead for the first time in the clash when Nicole Prince scored a great team try in the corner.
With the clocking ticking down, the Makos continued to play with composure before a late try - 30 seconds from full time - saw the Peninsula side draw level, forcing the game into a drop off.
Eventually the heartbreak was confirmed when the Peninsula side scored the match winner in the second phase of the drop off.
Despite the loss, coach Howard was ecstatic the team was able to overcome several hurdles and come close to scoring a memorable state cup win.
"It was a tough match but really, a great result for us," she said.
"We lost to the Peninsula team 5-0 earlier today so to regroup and to get our heads together for the grand final rematch was a great effort.
"And we had about four tries disallowed too, but you can't be upset with losing in a drop off at this level," she said.
Howard praised the defensive patterns of the Peninsula outfit that was able to cut off the Makos' attack.
"But that's what happens at this level," she added.
Howard described the three days of competition as a team effort and it was too difficult to name any one player that stood out.
The side's effort was even more praise-worthy given they lost a player on Wednesday night prior to the competition, lost a player in the warm-up to the first game before losing the team's best ball player after the first game.
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