The Cobar Roosters started well in their Barwon Darling rugby league major semi final match against Walgett on Saturday and looked set to follow their female counterparts, the Roosterettes, and claim a grand final spot.
The Walgett Dragons however had other ideas and a second half surge which saw them score three tries in the space of less than 10 minutes, spoilt the ‘all-Cobar’ celebrations on Saturday at Tom Knight Memorial Oval.
The Roosters started the match on the right foot with speedster Mason Garland breaking through the Dragons’ defence and then running 40 metres untouched to score.
Rob Childs’ conversion gave the Roosters a 6-0 lead.
With the Cobar side once again looming large on their line and after two successive penalties against Walgett for tackling infringements, tempers on both sides started to flare and a melee broke out on the field.
The referees quickly brought the game back under control and sent a player from each side to the sin-bin. Garland made the most of the extra room on the field and scored out wide for his second try.
Both sides were revved up and Walgett was keen to get back into the game.
Rohan Lloyd was doing a great job for the Roosters in cover defence and shut down Walgett’s raids on the line on numerous occasions.
Wade Potter’s kicks for touch and in play were spot on and helped to give the Roosters good field positions throughout the match.
It wasn’t long after the sin-binned players returned when another Walgett player found himself out for a 10 minute spell for kicking a Cobar player in the head.
Despite being a man down, Walgett managed to find space out wide and crossed for their first points. The sideline conversion attempt was waved away.
Just before half time, Walgett scored again after they found no one home on the wing.
The subsequent conversion levelled the score to 10-all going into the half time break.
Walgett came out firing in the second half and three minutes into play scored a soft try which was followed up in quick succession by two more easy tries and, within 10 minutes, the score had blown out to 22-10.
It escalated to 32-10 before the Roosters got themselves back into the game after Potter made a break midway and found Garland in support who scored his hat trick.
Childs’ conversion found its mark.
Roosters’ captain/coach Ben Simon barged his way through for a late try which was also converted for Childs to close the margin to just 10 points, but time had run out with the Dragons winning 32-22.
This week the Roosters play Bourke with the winner to go on to the grand final.