The Gunnedah Bulldogs "won ugly" when they opened their 2021 season at Jubilee Oval, Boggabri with a 24-20 victory over the Boggabri Kangaroos.
Down 20-18 with 20 minutes to go, the Bulldogs dug deep - with young halfback Nick White, making his first grade debut for the Bulldogs, scoring the second of his two tries.
"We found a way to win, we won ugly," Gunnedah coach Mick Schmiedel said.
"I was happy to get a win and happy we found a way to win but we have some work to do."
Schmiedel said both sides had opportunities to score late in the game but he was grateful his side fabricated the right plays to win the local derby.
"We gave away four penalties with the ball in hand," he added.
"Three of those were on our own tryline."
While he sang the praises of debutant White, he also thought Zac Turnbull, Dylan Lake and Rory Harding excelled.
"I was very happy with Rory," he said of the no-nonsense prop.
"We call him the draught horse. He does all the hard work. His defence was very strong and he went about his business well.
"Zac Turnbull was very good on the left edge, too, and Dylan was very good at fullback. Lincon (Smith) played well but has to control his emotions."
Schmiedel also said Matt Baker and Jackson Brookman "rolled the ball up the field" to put his side in its winning position late in the game.
It was a good start for the whole club with the Bulldogs women winning 40-0 and second grade winning 26-14.
Gunnedah now hosts Dungowan at Kitchener Park next Sunday.
First Grade: GUNNEDAH 24 (Nick White 2, Dylan O'Brien 2, Dylan Lake tries, Dylan O'Brien 2gls) d BOGGABRI 20 (Mitchell Fletcher 2, Robert Doolan, Josh Trindall tries, Robert, Doolan, Kaylan Murray gls) B&F: 3 Kaylan Murry (B), 2 Nick White (G), 1 Dylan Lake (G).
Second Grade: GUNNEDAH 26 (Jackson Brookman 2, Will Maggs, Paulo Dinaviroli, Josh Howarth tries, Jack Reeves 3gls) d BOGGABRI 14 (Jayde Campbell, Nick Hobden, Rodney Orchard tries, Jayde Campbell gl) B&F: 3 Paulo Dinavaroli (G), 2 Jayde Campbell (B), 1 Nic Altmann (G).
Ladies League Tag: GUNNEDAH 40 (Zoe Flemming 2, Piper Rankmore, Maddy Buhagiar, Deneka Jones, Marni Mitchell, Jacqui Jones tries, Flemming 3, Rankmore gls) d BOGGABRI 0. B&F: 3 Zoe Flemming (G), 2 Maddy Buhagiar (G), 1 Marnie Mitchell (G).
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