SIXTY seconds was all that separated Denman Public School's (DPS) under-10 rugby league team and a state title last week.
Almost 1400 students from 99 schools across New South Wales - including Kyogle, Casino, Macksville, Murwillumbah, Scone, Wauchope, Goulburn, Dubbo, Nambucca Heads, the Hunter and Central Coast - contested 260 games in two days as part of the 74th annual NSW Rugby League All Schools Carnival in Sydney.
The local lads - Jonathan, Blaney, Theo, Jade, Bailey, Brodie, Dawson, Tyson, Ajay, Keedan, Toby, Dillon, Braydan, Archie and Eddy - headed to Penrith to tackle the 10B division.
The side enjoyed convincing wins in all their matches to finish on top of their pool.
DPS then prevailed in the semi-final, 18-6, to secure a showdown in the decider against Sydney's Banksmeadow Public School.
The boys were fatigued, but battled on to play a solid game.
Unfortunately, it didn't quite go the way they'd hoped, with the final score being 18-12, with Banksmeadow crossing for a try in the dying moments.
The result meant DPS finished runners up and second overall in NSW.
"What a fantastic achievement for our little school?" sports coordinator Amanda Ballard said.
"Especially, when you consider we only have two classes to choose from.
"There's a lot of talent in this area.
"The boys were ecstatic to have even made the final.
"They supported each other all day and displayed superb team work in every game.
"The school community is very proud of them.
"A special thank you goes to Gabe Ballard for coaching the team leading up to this carnival, as well as Lindsay Duggan for running the water."
NSW Rugby League chief executive David Trodden reaffirmed his support of the tournament.
"The NSW Rugby League All Schools Carnival is a significant event that has enabled the sport to create an important pathway for junior players," he said.
"This is a great opportunity for children across the state to come together and showcase the wonderful talent pool of future Blues."