Castlereagh Cougars fall to Group 11

Cobar’s Bianka Jacobsen playing for the Castlereagh Cougars on the weekend.

A disjointed first half display by the Castlereagh women’s side set the scene for what was ultimately to be a 36-12 loss to Group 11 in Round 2 of the Western Women’s Rugby League Championships.

The Castlereagh team was thrown into disarray on Saturday at Forbes after five-eighth Tori Canham was out due to a shoulder injury suffered in Castlereagh’s win over Woodbridge.

Her unavailability and the non-arrival of two other players caused multiple positional changes and, far from showing the free flowing football that they did in the opening round of the competition, this week the team was well off the tempo in the opening half.

Group 11’s Lock Rebecca Smyth, a former Australian Rugby Union representative, also wreaked havoc with the Castlereagh defence, netting four tries in the game.

With the scoreboard reading 26-0 in their favour at half time, Group 11 looked set to go on to record a big win.

However the Castlereagh team most certainly had other ideas and with their halfback Zoë Harland (Cobar) and Lock Sammy Turnbull (Coonamble) leading the way they registered a much better performance in the second stanza, in fact winning it 12-10.

Apart from Harland (who scored Castlereagh’s first try and kicked two goals, and collected her team’s three best and fairest points and Player’s Player awards) and Turnbull, strong performances were handed in by Madison Wallace (Trangie) who backed up from the Under 18s game and had a blinder along with Cobar’s Bianka Jacobson (who earned two best and fairest points displaying her versatility playing in the centres, second row and front row throughout the match) and Baradine’s Stephanie Bowling, who despite being ill prior to the game, played very strongly throughout.

The second half performance will give the team something to go on with and indicates the Castlereagh team is most certainly not just in the competition to make up numbers.

In Round 3 this Saturday at Bathurst Castlereagh will take on Group 10.—contributed