Despite a few set backs, the Cobar Roosters First Grade side made a good start to the 2017 Barwon Darling Cup Rugby League competition on Saturday by recording a win and a loss at Walgett.
The Round 1 and Round 2 competition games were played as part of a Gala Day competition to kick off the season.
Unfortunately player numbers for Cobar were low due to shift work and the team was also missing Ben Simon due to illness, and so the Roosters were down to just 15 players for the two games.
Facing Collarenebri in their first match, the Roosters conceded three quick tries to be down 14-0 after just 10 minutes into the match.
The Roosters forwards then took control of the mid field with Troy Knight, Ulrich Eins, Jason Fell and Tom McBride charging into the Bulldog defence. Their hard hitting big tackles on the Bulldog forwards had the desired effect and forced some errors.
Knight barged his way over for Cobar’s first points and with the conversion unsuccessful Cobar was behind at 14-4. More determined running and an improved defensive line allowed Simon Cabot to dive over in the corner after some good lead up work from Wade Potter and Chris Deighton.
Cobar trailed 14-8 at half time. The talk was good at the break and the Roosters were keen to keep their momentum up.
The second half started well for the Roosters with Jed Noonan completing a slick backline movement with Brandon Jones, Simon Bowen and the team captain, Tim Hillam, all drawing defenders to allow Noonan to score.
Jones’ conversion had the score locked at 14-all.
Big hits were the order of the second half with McBride, Patrick Hallcroft and Noonan ensuring the Bulldogs were not making easy metres in attack.
A Roosters error close to their line allowed the Bulldogs the ball and, in a great attacking position, they turned the opportunity into points to go ahead 20-14 with minutes remaining on the clock.
With an injury to Cabot the Roosters were down to 14 men and the Walgett warm weather was taking its toll and affecting try scoring chances.
The Roosters went down 20-14.
Try scorers for Cobar were Noonan, Cabot and Knight with Jones kicking one goal.
Best for Cobar were Hillam, McBride and Noonan.
The second game of the day saw the Roosters up against the Lightning Ridge Redbacks who had forfeited their first game against Bourke due to low numbers.
They managed to muster nine players for the second game and, in an act of sportsmanship, the Roosters modified their team to field 11 men which also allowed them to keep some reserve players on the bench.
The game was a one-sided affair with Wade Potter a stand out in the match.
Potter was playing his final game for the Roosters before leaving town.
He was instrumental in attack and defence creating multiple scoring opportunities for the Roosters.
The Roosters used the game to refine some set plays and, with Potter ordering players around the field, the Cobar team was unstoppable in getting to the try line.
A half time lead of 20-0 for the Roosters soon started to blow out and the game was called off early when the Redbacks were down to just eight players on the field.
The score by then was 48-6.
Cobar’s try scorers were Tim Hillam 2, Jed Noonan, Chris Deighton, Brandon Jones, Wade Potter, Shane Suridge 2 and Ben Trudgett.
Goals were converted by Hillam, Deighton, Jones (3) and Trudgett.
Cobar’s best of the game were Jed Noonan, Tim Hillam and Wade Potter.
First Grade coach Ben Trudgett said he was happy with the side’s first hit out of the season.
“I was extremely pleased with the players’ efforts for the two games,” Trudgett said.
“We faced some adversity being there with low numbers but were extremely competitive against the Bulldogs and executed play well against the Redbacks.
“Our juniors Jason Fell and Patrick Hallcroft both played well in grade and were vital to the team’s performance.”
Trudgett said with the club having a home game this weekend and with players who were unavailable to play last week due to shift work being able to play this week, it will all come down to attendance at training as to who will make up final team of 19 to face the Bourke Warriors.—contributed