Castlereagh Cougars no match for Group 11’s fresh legs

Cobar’s Bianka Jacobson (with the ball) trying to muscle her way through the Group 11 defence in Saturday’s Western Women’s Rugby League game at Coonabarabran.
Photo by Peter Sherwood

Round five of the Western Women’s Rugby League (WWRL) Championships was played as part of a huge day of rugby league action at Coonabarabran on Saturday.

The Castlereagh WWRL Senior and Under 18s teams came up against Group 11 with the Unicorns also hosting the 2018 Christie and Hood Castlereagh League youth league and league tag knockouts.

Three grounds were required to accommodate the nine league tag and seven youth league teams that competed in the preliminary rounds of the knockouts before the finals moved to a very well presented Number One Oval where the games were played out in front of a large and appreciative audience.

The majority of the Castlereagh side, including Cobar’s Bianka Jacobson and Zoë Harland, were backing up after opting to play earlier with their respective sides in the League Tag knockout.

In Saturday’s hot and draining conditions, there was a certain element of pre-game fatigue for a lot of the Castlereagh side before they took the field against a fresh-legged Group 11 team.

Castlereagh started well and opened up the scoring in the fourth minute when Tori Canham (Coonamble) was able to get over from close range to make it 4-0.

However, that was to be about as much joy as the Castlereagh side was to enjoy for the rest of their outing with the Group 11 side then gaining a huge amount of possession for the remainder of the game.

The Castlereagh side however did not shirk it an any way, but with possession running 80 per cent to 20 per cent in favour of Group 11 it was an insurmountable task for the home side, with the defensive load proving too much and the visitors went in for nine tries to win convincingly, 52-4.

Jacobson, who showed the most resistance for Castlereagh in defence, collected the team’s best and fairest points for her hard work.

The highly entertaining Under 18s WWRL fixture saw the Group 11 combination come out firing, aided and abetted by some flimsy Castlereagh defence.

With just two minutes to go in the first half Group 11 had raced in four tries plus one goal and led 18-0 but with some great ball work by the Castlereagh team on the cusp of halftime, they went to the sheds with the scoreboard reading 18-4.

Any momentum lost by Group 11 due to that try was most certainly picked up by the Castlereagh team in the second stanza and they went on to register 14 unanswered points to finish the game at 18-all.

The Castlereagh WWRL sides will have their final hit out of the season in a fortnight at Gulgong.