The Cobar Camels hosted the Brewarrina Brumbies for their first game of the 2016 Western Plains Rugby competition on Saturday and, while the local team didn’t get off to an ideal start with a 22-0 loss, coach Heath Budd is confident their season will improve.
“We did fairly well considering we had four guys out due to work commitments and a wedding,” Budd said after Saturday’s game.
“We also had three guys playing out of position.
“It’s only the first game, we’ve got lots of things to pick up and learn from.”
Budd said the Camels First Grade side showed good forward structure, and their scrums were working well, especially in the second half.
“We’ve got a good backbone and I’m really confident that we can improve,” he said.
The Brewarrina Brumbies First Grade side had “turned up to play” with a big forward pack that dominated territory and possession from the kick off.
Mostly runaway tries from the Brumbies’ wide running outside backs gave them a 15-0 lead at half time.
A better performance by the home side in the second half limited Brewarrina’s scoring opportunities to one converted try for a final score of 22-0.
“We started playing their game a lot,” Budd said was one of the mistakes his side made.
“Our fitness is definitely there, and our loose forwards and backs Tom Wall and Rob Phair both played very well.”
Budd also praised the team captain Jamie Peters for his versatility throughout the game.
Peters played break away in the first half and later moved to half back after Clay Neale left the field following a knock to the head.
Cobar’s best and fairest three points was earned by hooker Ulrich Eins who was not afraid to “get in among the hard stuff”.
Two best and fairest points went to Peters and one point was earned by exceptional footballer and hard working five-eighth Tom Wall.
Brewarrina also brought with them a Second Grade side on Saturday to play a 10 man match after the main game.
Cobar’s Second Grade team was comprised of a number of ‘Old Boys’ including Drew Weaver, Matt Nicholson, Stephen Nicholson and John Beer along with a number of debutantes to the game of rugby union.
It was however young Josh Bain-Smith (who grew up on the Cobar rugby sidelines) who made the first inroads for the Cobar side with a 20 metre run from his first touch of the ball.
The Brumbies re-gathered and, despite some loose play, they soon found an overlap out wide to score.
They made the most of their team’s pace and the gaps on the field and soon had a 17-0 lead in what was a very entertaining game.
Just before half time Bain-Smith pounced on a loose ball and dived over to score the Camels’ first try of the game (which was also the club’s first try of the season and Bain-Smith’s first try of his rugby career).
The Brumbies scored immediately after the break from broken play and continued to find gaps for their pacey backs to score and the margin blew out to 46-5.
A great try saving tackle by Lachlan Sullivan prevented the score from escalating further and a late barn-storming run by Beer, who was well backed up by Matthew Nicholson, saw the Camels camped on their line just before full time.
Hard work by Ben McBride and a subsequent push over try by Jamie Peters saw the final score finish at 46-10.
One best and fairest point was awarded to all the Cobar players.