"That was tough to sit through."
That was the immediate response of an emotional Jason Kennedy after watching the see-sawing battle between the Forbes juniors side he's coached to the grand final and Dubbo CYMS.
The Magpies hung on in a nail-biter after setting an early lead that seemed insurmountable, before a ferocious CYMS fight-back nearly left them out in the cold.
While the Magpies left the field at Apex Oval two points ahead of their rivals, taking a 24 - 22 win, there were plenty of scares and surprises along the way, including a mid-way turnaround that saw an early sixteen point lead evaporate by half-time, with CYMS heading into the sheds leading 18 - 16.
"That first fifteen minutes we were going really good and then things just seemed to drop off, but they're a really good, tough little side these blokes and they play some football, that last fifteen was tough, but it was good."
Forbes opened the scoring early, with a CYMS knock-on giving them two nearly back to back sets off the jump and allowing Harrison Leadbitter to surge across the line for a try in the game's opening minutes.
Halfback Thomas Toohey wasn't content to just kick conversions, and found his own opening minutes later.
10 points down, CYMS attempt to seize some momentum was denied by Forbes defence, forcing errors and giving Leadbitter another chance to cross the line and giving Toohey another chance with the boot, putting Forbes ahead 16 - 0 mid-way through the first half.
Not to be denied, CYMS stand-out Caleb Cook pounced on a grubber to land a try in the corner, with Jack Allen following soon after to draw the gap to just four points heading into the final moments of the first half.
But it was Caleb Cook again when it counted, silencing the Forbes crowd with an astonishing run of the field close to CYMS' own try-line, stepping past Forbes line and planting a try below the posts to bring the scores level at half-time, with Randel Dowling adding the extras and giving his team the lead after the whistle.
CYMS coach Bret Fisher kept his boys focused on the game at hand after they snatched back the lead.
"In the sheds, the message was just to play football; complete our sets and put the pressure on them and play a good fifteen minutes of footy and we'd break them, we got those three tries," Fisher said.
"We definitely back out fitness and we back our defence, but the gameplan didn't go to plan in that first fifteen minutes and you just can't give a quality side like Forbes a 16 point lead."
Joint juniors player of the year Campbell Woolnough re-opened the scoring for Forbes early in the second half, putting Forbes back in the lead with Thomas Toohey once again adding the two extra.
CYMS Conor MItchell gave the hometown crowd a burst of hope late in the game after finding some open space just outside the posts, bringing the scores level at 22 - 22 with just six minutes to go.
But it was Thomas Toohey's boot that won the day, with a penalty kick awarded to Forbes after a high tackle giving Forbes the final two points of the game and sending them home as 2019's premiers.
"There's a good seven or eight blokes that were here last year," Kennedy said.