A last-second try to Brayden Draber was just enough for Tumut to steal a point against Gundagai to start their title defence.
The clash between the two rivals shaped as a blockbuster start to the Group Nine season at Twickenham on Saturday and they didn't disappoint.
There was plenty of feeling early before the Tigers kicked away leading 16-6 into half-time as the returning Dane O'Hehir scored from consecutive sets.
However Gundagai couldn't put away their rivals, and were forced into touch twice by some desperate Blues in the final 15 minutes, before Draber took advantage of Mat Lyons being sin binned with three minutes remaining to level things at 16-all.
Jacob Toppin, who had already slotted two sideline conversions, failed with his third attempt to see the points shared.
Tumut co-coach Dean Bristow thought his team were lucky to come away with a draw.
However he was thrilled with the determination they showed to keep the Tigers scoreless in the second half.
"We got away with one there," Bristow said.
"We had no right to take away a draw there in my opinion but it just shows the resilience of this team.
"They should have iced the game with ample ball they threw at us that we just kept coughing up.
"We've got a lot of improvement to do but I can't fault any of the boys' efforts and the way they turn up for each other.
"Once again our defence kept us in the game of footy."
Gundagai counterpart Adam Perry was far from pleased with his side in the second half, as plenty of errors released pressure on the Blues.
He believes they have plenty to work on ahead of a clash with Young at Alfred Oval next week.
"We just dropped the ball so we were probably lucky to get a point," Perry said.
"Hopefully we don't play that bad again.
"I was reasonably (happy with the first half) but there are a few areas we can get better at."
Tumut had the better of the early chances but it was Gundagai who struck first when Dylan Cole capitalised on a big break up the middle from Luke Berkrey.
Spot fires flared on a number of occasions as things got heated between the two sides before Bristow and Tyron Gorman were given their marching orders after 22 minutes.
Bristow thought Ben Whitby's decision helped settle the two rivals.
"There was plenty of feeling it in and it probably went on for too long," he said.
"It should have happened early but once the sin binnings came out I think we settled down and started to play some footy."
Tumut levelled things on the scoreboard through new recruit Connor Massen two minutes later before O'Hehir made a big impact in his return at centre.
First he made a 40-metre run on the last tackle to score before plucking a James Smart bomb out of Massen's hands in the following set to secure the biggest lead of the game 10 minutes out from half-time.
Perry was impressed with his performance after almost two years in England.
Tumut got back in the hunt when Austin McDougall crossed 13 minutes after the break before Gundagai were given a number of good opportunities from Tumut mistakes inside their own half.
However they couldn't find their way over to set up a thrilling finish.
Somehow James Luff and Jake Elphick were able to hold Jed Pearce up over the line before the Blues secured a numerical advantage after Lyons levelled Massen out with just under three minutes to play.
Gundagai held strong after Tumut's first assault but when Royce Tout was ruled to have lost the ball 30 metres out with 54 seconds remaining it provided another opportunity for the premiers.
This time they created space as Draber finished off the back line play and levelled the scores.
Bristow was just pleased to take advantage.
"We identified that was where they were going to be short, managed to get a call go our way there and took the opportunity," he said.
"That is what you have to do. When you get opportunities you have to take them but we can be a hell of a lot better.
"It was really scrappy and rather frantic.
"We didn't seem to settle into the groove at all."
Gundagai picked up a couple of injury concerns with second rower Seb Cottam suffering a forearm injury early while new forward Aisea Taholo didn't finish the game with a head knock.
Tumut's lone injury concern is Massen, although they were forced into a late change with Stephen Gill taken from the field by paramedics in reserve grade.