The Cobar Roosters are through to the 2016 Barwon Darling grand final with a thrilling 32-28 win over Bourke on Sunday at Brewarrina.
The Roosters started their game well on Sunday against Bourke with some heavy Cobar defence rattling the Warriors’ forwards from the kickoff.
Lock forward Ethan Black forced his way over in the corner for Cobar’s first points.
With usual goal kicker Robert Childs unavailable for the game, David Watson stepped up to do kicking duties.
In a strong and unpredictable breeze the kick from the sideline went wide.
The Rooster forwards in Paul McCosker, Ben Simon and Rohan Lloyd were making good metres through the middle of the field.
This allowed halves Kody Martin and Watson room to spread the ball wide for Tristan Everett and then Isaac Kershaw who forced his way over just inside the corner post for the Roosters’ second try.
Watson’s conversion was just offline.
Speedster Mason Garland, fullback Tim Hillam and Jacob Good made darting runs around the ruck forcing Bourke’s cover defence to work overtime. Everett was next to cross under the posts giving Watson his easiest conversion attempt which he kicked for the Roosters to skip out to a 14-0 lead.
Some poor handling and wayward passes by the Roosters allowed Bourke their first attacking opportunities against the Roosters’ defence and, after some fleet footwork the Warriors’ outside Centre Hogan Shillingsworth crossed.
The conversion was successful to close the margin to 14-6 midway through the first half.
Cobar lifted from their next set with Bobby Schofield, Chris Deighton and Black charging into the Warriors’ defensive line.
From their good lead up work Lloyd was able to score in the corner.
With Watson now predicting and allowing for the wind, he slotted his second conversion from the sideline for Cobar to go ahead 20-6.
Some poor lapses in defence allowed Shillingsworth to score two more quick tries for Bourke and at half time the score was close at 20-16 in the Roosters’ favour.
Cobar re-started the better of the two sides.
After good lead up from Simon, Lloyd and Jarrod Davey (who was returning from injury), Everett beat the defenders to score out wide.
Watson’s conversion pushed Cobar’s lead out to 26-16.
Another try by Shillingsworth brought the Warriors to within six points at 26-20, however it only served to lift the Cobar side again.
Garland then stormed through the Warriors’ line to score under the posts and Watson’s fourth conversion had them ahead 32-20.
Injuries started to take a toll and the Roosters had to dig deep in the final minutes of the game.
To Bourke’s credit they exploited this situation and grabbed two late tries to Shillingsworth (who posted five tries for the game).
However the Roosters hung on to hold out for a 32-28 win and a Barwon Darling grand final berth.—contributed