Albury Thunder suffered further heartache when it went down to ladder leader Wagga Brothers 20-18 at Wagga’s Equex Centre on Sunday.
Unlike previous weeks where the line-up has led for major parts of the game, Thunder came home strongly to fall just short after Damian Scott scored in the final minute.
Errors again hurt Adrian Purtell’s side dearly with lapses in concentration at crucial stages proving the difference between the sides.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before and I guess we just have to stick at it,” Purtell said.
“It came down to errors.
“We get ourselves in a good position and then let it slip.
“It’s really frustrating but the effort is there from the boys and we’ll persist.”
Albury Thunder lost the ball with the first hit-up of the day and Brothers soon took advantage with Edward Ansell and Liam Carey scoring to grab a 12-0 lead.
Joel Monaghan and Robbie Byatt responded to cut the deficit to 12-8 before Brothers struck through Brayden Sharrock seconds before half-time to take an 18-8 advantage into the break.
Ansell converted a penalty at the 52-minute-mark for the home team.
Albury Thunder refused to roll over with Etu Uaisele and Scott scoring late but the damage had been done.
Uaisele was sinbinned in the dying stages of the match.
The loss comes after devastating two and one-point losses to Kangaroos and Temora in recent weeks.
Monaghan was a strong contributor for Albury while Shannon Rupapere and Matt and Robbie Byatt also worried Brothers.
Purtell played under duress with a hamstring injury and looks set to miss this weekend’s clash against Cootamundra at Greenfield Park.
Jon Huggett was ruled out due to chicken pox.
Brothers defeated Albury by one point in the opening round of the season and have gone on to lead the competition at the halfway stage of the home and away series.
“It’s a very tight competition and little things are hurting us at the moment,” Purtell said.
Southcity went on a second-half blitz to defeat Temora 52-12.
After leading 16-6 at half-time, the Bulls found another gear which delighted coach Kyle McCarthy.
“We made a few errors after points but we nullified that, got back to basics and really put them to the sword,” McCarthy said.
Speedster Jack Lyons was the chief destroyer with four ties.
In other matches, a rejuvenated Gundagai trounced Cootamundra 28-6 and Junee defeated Wagga Kangaroos 38-18.