The NSW team trains at Manuka Oval before the shield final. Photo: Graham Tidy
Canberrans Ryan Carters and Jason Behrendorff shone for their respective states to leave the Sheffield Shield final evenly poised after an enthralling day's play at Manuka Oval.
Carters (72) and Test star Steve Smith (75) both scored half-centuries to put NSW in a position of power, before Behrendorff captured three wickets late on Friday to catapult Western Australia back in the contest.
After the Blues lost 5-25 in a dramatic collapse, Moises Henriques (24 not out) and Stephen O'Keefe (26 not out) steadied the ship with an unbeaten 54-run stand for the seventh wicket as NSW finished 6-243 at stumps on Friday.
NSW captain Steve Smith (left) and WA captain Adam Voges with the Sheffield Shield. Photo: Mark Nolan
The Blues were in complete control and in the driver's seat to lift the Shield for the first time since 2007-08 when they were 1-164 with Carters and Smith at the crease.
But after Carters fell on the third last ball before tea, the Warriors unleashed a torrid spell of reverse swing bowling to give themselves hope of breaking their 15-year first-class title drought.
"It was a very hard fought day of cricket and they definitely made us work very hard for our runs,'' Carters said.
Ryan Carters celebrates his half-century. Photo: Graham Tidy
"The game could go either way and it's very important the first session goes well for us tomorrow.
"The pitch is pretty good. There was a bit of swing around late in the day and they took five quick wickets to turn the match around.
"There's been a very good fight from O'Keefe and Moises to get us back into it and hopefully that can lay the foundation for some more runs tomorrow.
NSW opener Ryan Carters was caught behind for 72 off Michael Hogan. Photo: Graham Tidy
"If we can get close to 300, that's a pretty good score for a first innings and that's what we'll be able to do.''
Carters continued his breakthrough season, becoming the second highest run-scorer for a first-year player for NSW with 861 runs - behind only former Test captain Mark Taylor's 937 in 1985-86.
His patient 189-ball innings came to an end when he nicked one behind to wicketkeeper Sam Whiteman off evergreen quick Michael Hogan (2-43).
Sheffield Shield day 1
WA spin bowler, Ashton Agar. Photo: Graham Tidy
The departure of Carters gave the Warriors renewed spirit as their quicks capitalised on the ball starting to reverse swing from the abrasive dry deck.
However, it was going to take something special to get rid of Smith.
Behrendorff delivered, producing a ripper of a return catch to send the in-form Australian star on his way.
It was the start of a cracking spell of bowling from the 23-year-old left-armer, who hit the top of Kurtis Patterson's off-stump for eight before Shaun Marsh held a sharp chance in the slips to get rid of Peter Nevill for a duck.
"I always felt I was in the game with the ball reversing if I could hit the right area,'' Behrendorff said.
''It was good to get Smith out, that was a bit of a lucky one.
"It actually went straight in the [hands)] it was perfect.
"It's a pretty flat wicket and I think spin will play a big part later in the game.
"If we can keep them under 300 we'll be right on top.''
Behrendorff showed why he has been touted as a future Australian representative.
Having come through the ACT ranks with Tuggernanong, Behrendorff has plenty of experience bowling at former Wests/UC batsman Carters.
The pair faced off in a Canberra first-grade final several years ago, Carters and NSW off-spinner Nathan Lyon getting the upper hand on that occasion.
"It's always interesting bowling at Ryan, I don't think I've got him out in the Shield cricket yet,'' Behrendorff said.
"I've still got to conquer that one.''
The Blues made two changes for the final, bringing in Henriques and Trent Copeland for Doug Bollinger (Australian T20 duties) and Sean Abbott (omitted), while Mitch Marsh replaced Ashton Turner for WA.