The NSWRL Pioneers have held off a fast-finishing Queensland Rangers outfit to record an enthralling 28-18 victory at Davies Park on Sunday.
The Pioneers took a 16-6 lead into half-time after a late try to five-eighth Chad O'Donnell right on half-time, but their lead wouldn't come without a customary Queensland fight back in the second-half.
A try to Maliko Filino in the latter stages looked to have been the match sealing four-pointer, although when Rangers forward Andrew Petaia crossed shortly after it made for a heart stopping finish.
That was until stand-in fullback Jarom Haines produced a moment of brilliance in the dying moments – a 70m run against the run of play sealing a well-deserved victory.
Captain Alex Langbridge proved potent out of dummy-half with an energetic first-half – laying on the first try for Pat Hollis with a deft grubber before scoring one himself with just five minutes remaining in the first-half.
It took Queensland 25 minutes to find a breakthrough when Harlan Collins pounced on a loose ball to set a 6-all scoreline but their momentum would last only for a short period.
Just moments after Langbridge restored the lead for NSW when he burried his way over from close-range, O'Donnell created his own luck when his grubber ricocheted back into his arms for a crucial try on the stroke of half-time.
The Rangers enjoyed a blistering start to the second-half when Tristan Hope crossed in the 47th minute with Caleb Duant converting from in-front to reduce the deficit to just four.
Just when they had momentum, a dynamic run from Fuiamamao Utai put NSW onto the attack – Pat Mata'utia crashing over to set a 20-12 lead with just under 30 minutes remaining.
With the full-time siren drawing near, Jordan Remfrey produced a late offload from no where to send an unmarked Filino over in the left-hand corner before Haines 70m effort with three minutes remaining ensured a fighting victory.