Free-flowing spectacle of open rugby was on show

Jack Fazulla looking to pass in Saturday’s match against the Rams. ▪ Photo contributed

Cobar Rugby Union Camels hosted the Coonamble Rams on Saturday at Ailsa Fitzsimmons Memorial Oval.

After a free flowing spectacle of open rugby, one in which the Camels failed to convert some brilliant passages of play into points, the Rams returned home to Coonamble 38-28 victors.

Frustratingly obvious is that the Camels’ squad has the talent pool for a very good football team.

Coonamble won on Saturday because team members were fit and cohesive in both attack and defence. Cobar were not.

Coonamble ran in two unanswered tries in the first 20 minutes. Speedy Fijian, Gordon James, initially playing way out of position at fullback, had continually worried the Rams defence with sharp accelerations coupled with sheer pace and eventually touched down out wide for the Camels’ first try.

Kody Martin converted and at halftime Coonamble led the Camels 12-7.

In the second half, it was clear if the Camels capitalised on the opportunities created by their classy backline, they could win the game. But, another one of those all too frequent defensive lapses allowed Coonamble to extend its lead to 24-7.

Tackling himself to a standstill, forward Mitch Dunne positioned himself out wide to suck in a few big ones (breaths that is) just as the Fijian connection moved the ball towards his wing. The Nymagee connection seized the opportunity to score Cobar’s second try adjacent to the corner post. Another difficult conversion landed by Martin took the Camels’ total to 14 points.

Several key positioned selections did not benefit the Cobar team one little bit.

Loose forward Taito Koroi, who played an absolute blinder in the forwards in Gilgandra the week before with his high energy, rock hard defence game found himself perched on the wing waiting for the ball when the team needed him on the ball.

When it finally arrived, Koroi charged headlong towards the Coonamble line off a James pass to score, a charge which no Coonamble defender was going to stop. Again Martin converted a difficult shot at goal.

Cobar, now on 21 points and chasing the Coonamble total of 38, appeared to sense the urgency and importance of finishing the game off well. Utility player Toby Jones was busy, fullback Slade Neale saved a certain try after slamming a speedy, young Coonamble tyro into touch and a world of dizziness and Sam Jeffery continued his dominance on the lineout to record his best performance of the season.

Ed Paul moved into the forwards with his mate Braden Read and both lifted the tempo of their games.

Throughout the earlier passages of play, they both appeared to be afflicted with some sort of lethargy inducing virus. Paul and Read at their best are the cornerstones of performance for the Camels’ outfit. (Maybe it was the thought of imminent remedial medical therapy provision at the Duck Creek Races later in the evening that vastly improved their effort.) Camels replacement halfback, Tom McKenna, a very talented footballer, made his presence on the field felt immediately.

With the fulltime whistle due, Martin toed a loose ball towards the Coonamble try line which the “never say die” McKenna forced  just short of the opposition dead ball line, clever play by the scrum-base duo.

Talent lives within this Camels playing group, but Cobar’s failure to support their team mates when they are on the attack plus failure to set a rigid line of defence both stem from the  Camels’ obvious lack of fitness and cohesiveness which will only improve and develop if the team members consistently attend training.—contributed