For the second week in a row the Cobar Under 18’s made the long haul to Gulgong on Saturday to take on the Gulgong Terriers in the Preliminary Final of the Castlereagh Youth League competition.
The Roosters had beaten the Terriers twice in the home and away season by two points in both games so knew they were going to have a tough game.
The Roosters, with only 15 minutes to warm up after getting their jerseys on, started slow and Gulgong ran in two quick tries to lead 10-0 with 16 minutes left in the first half.
With great lead up play from the forwards pack of Chris Crotty, Patrick Hallcroft, Wyatt Proudlove, Michael Manns and Johnny Best, Braith Good took on the line and scored next to the uprights to make the conversion easy on himself with the Roosters behind 10-6.
Gulgong replied with a try from the kick off from a ball handling error on a very slippery field with the score 16-6 with 11 minutes to go.
The Cobar team was pushing hard at the Gulgong line and a little dart from dummy half saw Haymish McLeod dive over to score after throwing a dummy pass.
Cobar was back in the game at 16-10 with four minutes left in the first half.
Gulgong were awarded one of many penalties and decided to take the two.
The ball went to the left of the uprights and landed in the hands of Good to see him run the ball out of the danger area.
A quick play of the ball from ‘Mr Reliable’ Marty Turton at dummy half to Proudlove, and then to Henry Brookman who, after the buzzer, passed the ball on to his speedy winger Bradley Davies.
Davies put the foot down and, with the Cobar crowd on their feet, he ran 70 metres to lose his legs a metre out from his try line when he was pulled down by the Terriers defence.
The small but very vocal Cobar crowd rallied around the little Roosters as they headed into the sheds for the half time break with their team narrowly trialling 16-10.
The coaches, Rob Childs and Jacob Good, gave the boys a good half time talk and the young Roosters came out firing.
Only minutes into the second half, Cobar lost their captain Johnny Best for 10 minutes in the sin bin for ‘obstruction of play’.
Gulgong took advantage of the Roosters being a man down and crossed the line to take the score out to 22-10.
With their captain off the field the young Roosters gave it their all and Braith Good saw an opportunity when Gulgong were attacking on Cobar’s 20 metre line after a dropped ball.
Good put up a great kick when he noticed the Gulgong fullback wasn’t at home and Lachlan Ford raced through and grabbed the ball from an awkward bounce, only to have the ball stripped.
Gulgong were awarded another penalty a short time later and the successful kick took the score out to 24-10.
With time ticking away young Ashley Davies, who had put in an enormous effort in both attack and defence, palmed off two Terriers to run away.
With only the fullback to beat he passed the ball to Tyson Brilley who crossed in the corner only to have the try disallowed for a forward pass.
Johnny Best took to the field in full flight mode and the Roosters absolutely smashed the Terriers for the next two sets.
Gulgong looked to be doing it hard as the Roosters literally put their bodies on the line.
The worried Terriers slotted through a field goal to take the score to 25-10.
The Roosters had Gulgong on the back foot and the Terriers lost a couple of players to injury through solid defence from the Roosters. Ford darted over for a late try from dummy half to take the final score to 25-16.
Brilley was strong at fullback; Crotty had four great tackles in a row and ran the ball well, along with Hallcroft.
Proudlove put in a brilliant performance for the match and Good had his kicking game on point and was not afraid to take on the line.
Ford really played his heart out at half back, and once again the Davies brothers were stand out players for the Roosters side.
The Cobar team was also well served in attack by Brookman and Tyler Clark.
The Cobar boys were disappointed with the end result but can hold their heads high as they are a strong bunch of players coming through the ranks. From their display in this game and throughout the season, it’s safe to say the Cobar Roosters have a bright future in rugby league.—contributed