The Cobar Camels beat Bourke 17-10 in their Western Plains Rugby match on Friday night at Ailsa Fitzsimmons Memorial Oval.
The Camels led 7-0 at half time and maintained the upper hand throughout the game despite the wet, slippery conditions.
The team’s strength and conditioning coach John Barnes said their game plan had been to keep the ball in hand and to also play a physical forward pack game which ultimately paid off with a 17-10 win.
“Bourke was outplayed in the tight phases of the game,” Barnes told The Cobar Weekly.
“Their defence was tested throughout the game and ultimately Bourke asked for uncontested scrums due to the dominance of the Camels’ forwards.
“The Camels back three, No. 11 Kurt Johnson, No. 14 Travis Dunlevy and No. 15 Wade Potter, were outstanding in the wet conditions under the high balls kicked on them with limited handling errors,” Barnes said.
“The tactical kicking of the team was pinpointed and found a lot of open spaces behind the backline of Bourke.”
Barnes said when the Camels had the ball in hand they were dangerous in attack. He said the Bourke team had their defence tested time and time again.
“Ultimately that wall of defence broke and led to two well executed tries by the Camels,” Barnes said.
“The first try was rounded off by Tom Wall after a brilliant break from Loma Awatuau, the outside centre (No. 13), who created havoc throughout the game with his off the ball running at pace. He split the defence on numerous occasions that ultimately led to this try.”
The second try was scored from a turn over ball by Dayne ‘Snake’ Viant.
The ball was kicked through and Tom Wall won the run to the try line to score.
“Wall had a good night with the boot in the wet conditions, converting both tries and also a penalty which brought the end result to 17-10 in the Camels’ favour.”
Barnes said in addition to the score finishing in Cobar’s favour, there were a lot of positives to come out of the game.
“The Camels stuck to their game plan, they concentrated on the ball and did not get influenced by Bourke who adopted a negative game plan by playing the man and not the ball,” Barnes said.
He said the Cobar players are starting to believe in themselves and their team mates and play as a unit and not as individuals.
“The results prove that the Camels are back on track to be a team to be reckoned with in the future.”
He also said the team’s support play was outstanding.
“There was always a player in position to offload the ball to and through this turn over balls were limited.”
Barnes was pleased to see a number of past players are returning to the team.
“Even if they cannot attend training sessions but can contribute 20 minutes per game, they are valuable,” he said.
Barnes said the club culture is also improving and players who know they will be not able to play a future game due to other commitments are starting to make other arrangements early.
“This is proof of the dedication of the players, which make a coach proud be part of the team,” Barnes said.
Barnes is hoping the team can make it back-to-back wins this Saturday when they come up against Gulargambone and add some icing to the 1976 and 1996 Camels Old Boys’ reunion celebrations.