Camels and Roosters combine for Hot 9s

The Cobar Camels side that contested the Bourke Hot 9’s rugby league knockout
competition on Saturday in Bourke was made up of both Cobar rugby union and rugby league players as well as some new faces to town. ▪ Photo contributed

The Cobar Camels (with the inclusion of a few Cobar Roosters players) contested the Bourke Hot 9’s competition on Saturday finishing the day with a win and two draws.

The annual rugby league 9’s competition is held each year in Bourke in an effort to keep ‘bush footy’ alive.

Mark Aumua (who has previously played for both the Cobar Camels and the Cobar Roosters) coached the side in readiness for this year’s Hot 9s event.

Aumua described Rugby League 9’s as the equivalent of Rugby 7’s.

“It’s very, very quick and they play nine minutes each half,” Aumua explained.

He said despite only having one run together the day before the tournament, the team was made up of some very talented and experienced players, many who have made their mark on both the rugby union and rugby league fields.

“A number of the boys have played together before and, while most have only just started pre-season training, they were however already match fit after just coming off a season of playing touch,” Aumua said.

The Cobar side won their first pool game against Bourke 24-20 and then recorded 18-all draws in their next two games against the Baaka Connections and Gyro Warriors teams.

Cobar unfortunately missed making the final (which was calculated on for and against points in each pool).

Aumua said it was “hard luck” that the team didn’t make the final.

“I’m proud of the efforts of all the Cobar team, in particular our indigenous players who represented their heritage and the Cobar community well at the tournament.

“We had a number of standout players on the day, including two brothers from Fiji, Willie and Filipe Tauva, who are new to town.”

He said they both put in big workloads and it was hard to get them off for a break.

Aumua also praised the talents of Tyler Coughlan, Will Pekham and Jayden Harvey along with Roosters players Ash Davies, Zane Taylor and Ben Griffiths, who had previous Indigenous Rugby 7s experience.

“Chris Crotty was also a powerhouse for us.”

“They all played exceptionally well.

“We received great support from the Camels committee, Nikki Gilbert [who acted as team manager], Tiffany Temminck and Cairo Haronga and our vocal supporters on the sidelines

“Ash Davies just got pipped at the post for the Dash for the Cash race on the day and our Nikki Gilbert, represented the ladies, and just missed out on winning the Kick for Cash competition.

“It was a very well organised and run event played in good spirits,” he said.

Gilbert said it was great to be able to have the support of Aurelia Metals/Peak Gold Mines to take a team to the Bourke Hot 9’s Indigenous Knockout competition.

Aurelia’s sponsorship provided the team’s playing jerseys and also covered the cost of the competition entry fees.