The undefeated Roosterettes faced their biggest challenge to date in the Barwon Darling League Tag competition when they came up against the second placed Walgett Dragonettes on Saturday in Walgett.
With only nine players available for the game, the Roosterettes rose to the occasion and won the match 24-18 to cement their No 1 spot on the table and claim the minor premiership.
The pre-game talk from Roosterettes’ captain Zoë Harland was about backing their ability and playing their style of football.
From the outset Cobar’s defensive structure and line speed was putting pressure on the Dragonettes’ attacking plays and forcing errors.
In attack the Roosterettes were making good metres with Laura Ah See, Jade Goonrey and Lisa Travis giving Harland good field position for attacking kicks. However it was the Dragonettes who scored first after regaining the football from a kick to lead 6-0.
The Roosterettes regrouped in the next set with Goonrey, Bianka Jacobson and Kasey Egan pulling off great tags before Travis posted first points for the Roosterettes with a try. Harland’s conversion missed and Cobar was down 6-4. Walgett scored again and were leading 12-4 before the Roosterettes took control of the back end of the first half.
With Harland making massive metres on kick returns, Jenna Fullagar was at her elusive best with ball-in-hand and Travis, with her outstanding marker defence not allowing the Dragonettes any easy metres, showed why she was selected in the Western Rams squad this year.
Although Walgett had the luxury of three additional players on the field than Cobar, it was the Roosterettes who were finding overlaps on the edges.
First it was Travis with a weaving run to offload to Egan to score. Travis then scored her second for the game after good lead up work from Harland and Fullagar to put the Roosterettes ahead 14-12 just before halftime.
The Roosterettes finished the first half with a flourish with Harland scoring and converting her own try for the Roosterettes to shock Walgett by leading 20-12 at the break.
The second half was going to be a test of the Roosterettes’ mental strength, fitness and hunger to win if they were to close out the match
The Roosterettes continued to work hard in defence continually sliding to shut down the numerical advantage that Walgett were holding. Leslie Tiffen, Elodie Manns and Goonrey were constantly getting tags and, with Harland’s kick returns giving field position in attack, Cobar’s quick plays around the ruck by Ah See, Jacobson and Fullagar helped them to gain better field position.
Walgett was constantly looking for ways through the Roosterettes’ defence to score and it finally came in the 19th minute of the half.
The Dragonettes pounced on a loose ball after Cobar had defended for four straights sets of six on their own line to take them to within two points of Cobar at 20-18.
The Roosterettes found a final burst of energy when Ah See evaded three defenders to score right on fulltime under the posts.
Harland’s kick went wide (after a gruelling 50 minute game she didn’t have the energy!) for a final score of 24-18. After the game coach Rachel Garland was full of praise for the side who had dug deep to come away with a win that cemented their No 1 spot and the minor premiership!—contributed