With mother and newly born daughter both safely home and a few hours' sleep on a hospital chair under his belt, West Belconnen Warriors coach Troy Thompson made it to the game on top of the world with an hour or so to spare.
But his team ran into a rampant Queanbeyan Kangaroos, despite last year's Canberra Raiders Cup grand finalists being decimated by injury.
Two of their players backed up from serious injuries, while retired coach Aaron Gorrell answered his own call to pull the boots back on in the 52-22 win at Freebody Oval on Saturday.
Kangaroo Bryan Cronan goes close to scoring a third try.
Thompson's wife Rachel gave birth to their third child, Valentine, on Friday, with the Warriors coach spending the night in hospital before taking the newest addition to his family home the following day.
With both mother and daughter doing well, nothing was going to stop him from getting to the game – before returning with dinner for the whole family later on.
"We got discharged about 1.30pm [Saturday] and I just came straight here, about four hours [sleep] it wasn't too bad," Thompson said.
"A girl, Valentine, they're good … everything's good, she's home now, I've got three [kids now], which is good, crazy household."
But the Warriors struggled against a Kangaroos side that seemed up for the contest, with their forward pack especially dominant.
They ran in three tries to one in the final quarter for a convincing 30-point win.
Thompson felt his team's defence uncharacteristically let them down.
"They played really well. Same story – if you run harder, tackle harder you go close to winning the game, and they just did it consistently, they were really good today," he said.
Kangaroos coach Aaron Gorrell pulled the boots back on to help solve his injury crisis.
Gorrell was especially proud of his team's efforts given their injury toll, which combined with the long weekend meant the club was forced to forfeit there under-18s.
But both the seniors and reserves were able to win.
The coach pulled his boots back on after retiring following last year's grand final, while Joshua Ayers (dislocated knee) and Jake Kiely (AC joint) both backed up after suffering serious injuries last week.
"I think we've got about 12 first graders out at the moment, so for us to come away with the win against a quality side like that is pretty pleasing," Gorrell said.
Kangaroo Jake Kiely was playing hurt.
"Ayersy was ruled out on Tuesday for 10 weeks, comes out and plays 80 minutes. Jake Kiely was ruled out for five weeks and probably his best performance of the year.
"Just shows the character of some of the blokes, which is really pleasing."
Meanwhile, the Tuggeranong Bushrangers have gone clear at the top of the table with their emphatic 42-8 victory over the Queanbeyan Blues, while the Woden Valley Rams and Yass Magpies were also both big winners.
The Blues and Warriors are one win behind Tuggeranong, while the Kangaroos and Magpies are now one win further back with things starting to get congested on the ladder.
AT A GLANCE
Tuggeranong Bushrangers 42 (J Mitchell 2, L Tuicakau 2, M Brophy, B Neil, N Smith tries; J Mitchell 7 goals) bt Queanbeyan Blues 8 (Z Patch, D Barrie tries);
Woden Valley Rams 68 (M Gilmour 2, K Going 2, M Geiger 2, R Leapai, B Martin, C McGhie, J Taws, P Vaka-Vivili, S Kaufusi, tries; L Withers 10 goals) bt Belconnen United Sharks 6 (I Hamad try; A McDonald goal);
Yass Magpies 50 (T Warner 3, Steve Naughton 2, S Aiolupo 2, B Warner, J Smith tries; S Davis 7 goals) bt Goulburn Workers Bulldogs 24 (C Hart, Z Hart, F Paletua-Kiri, N Whatman tries; C Hart 4 goals);
Queanbeyan Kangaroos 52 (B Cronan 2, J Kiely 2, N Ngere 2, B Crisp, S Dunn, N Grant tries; B Crisp 8 goals) bt West Belconnen Warriors 22 (T Aroha Tuinauvai, J Graham, D Litster, B Litster tries; M Campbell 3 goals).
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