Central Australia defeated Katherine 25-17 in a gripping contest for the Mercure Country Cup at Land Rover Rugby Park on Saturday Night.
It was the first encounter between the two regional Territory Unions in over a decade and in stark contrast to the hiding dished out by Central Australia back then.
The Centralians opened the scoring via a penalty goal to Schaylen Parai six minutes into the game.
Both team displayed a penchant for kicking long in a battle for field position despite looking creative when running the ball.
With only a three point lead and 15 minutes left of the half Isaac Salei was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.
Shortly after Central Australia were awarded a penalty and from the ensuing line-out rolled the maul for Karo McLean to score a try.
Clinton Wauchope got Katherine on the scoreboard when he crashed over wide out and Anthony Busch’s sideline conversion made it 8-7 at the break.
Busch had the opportunity to put his side in front three minutes into the second term but the penalty from in front went wide.
Almost immediately Zane Mete intercepted a pass and the converted try had the Alice Springs side up by eight.
Katherine had called up a few Darwin based players and the mercurial veteran Stetefano Cakaunivalu from South Darwin crossed shortly after.
The second half really started to open as the teams chanced their arm and Zane Mete scored his second try for Central Australia and Parai added the extra two.
Sean Wauchope got Katherine back into the match with a try in the corner reducing the margin to five with six minutes left on the clock.
Central Australia won the ball from the kick off and a penalty goal to Parai a few phases later which would be the last score of the match
CARU 25 Z Mete 2, K McLean Tries, S Parai 2 Conv 2 Pen
KRU 17 S Cakaunivalu, C Wauchope, S Wauchope Tries A Busch Conv