Roosters cement top of the table status

Tim Hillam (with the ball) pushing his way through the Gulgong defence in the wet conditions on Saturday at Tom Knight Memorial Oval.

The Cobar Roosters cemented their top of the table status in the Christie & Hood Cas-tlereagh Rugby League competition with a hard fought 24-16 win over Gulgong on Sat-urday.
The Round 10 match was played at Tom Knight Memorial Oval in atrociously cold and wet conditions with rain falling for most of the second half of the match.
The Roosters were out to avenge their earlier loss this season to Gulgong and they pressed that point home to the visitors right from the kick-off.
The Roosters’ line-up on Saturday had a slightly different look (they were missing both their halves, captain/coach Loma Atuau and veteran Jimmy Neyland).
They were however able to welcome back Ben Simon to their forward pack for his first run of the season.
Hooker Tom Plater moved to halfback and Ted Smith replaced Plater in hooker and both shone in their new roles.
Cobar had an early 10-0 lead after two con-secutive tries were effortlessly scored by Na-than McAndrew, who made sure he was in the right place at the right time.
Gulgong then played themselves back into the game with two converted tries which saw them take the lead at 12-10, 15 minutes out from half time.
The Roosters however maintained their cool and their constantly attacking forwards probed the middle of the field on numerous occasions looking for gaps before they sent the ball wide to winger Jack Brown.
Brown touched down in the corner to have the Roosters back in front at 14-12, which was also the margin at the halftime break.
The Roosters dominated possession in the second half and six minutes after the re-start (and on his second attempt), Plater stretched out to touch the chalk to re-open their scoring account.
Plater’s successful conversion of his try put Cobar further ahead at 20-12.
Misty rain settled in and the wet, slippery conditions meant a change of game tactics were needed for both teams.
The tired Gulgong side (who had just three subs on their bench) benefited most from slow-er play.
It also worked in the favour of the Roosters who were reduced to just 12 players when they had a player sent to the sinbin for 10 minutes.
The Roosters scrambled in defence and Gul-gong’s opportunity to score when they found the overlap on the wing went begging when they rushed play and the ball went to ground.
Five minutes before fulltime, the rain abated and the Roosters were back to having a full side.
Plater reined in a kick in play from Gulgong and raced over to score his second try of the match.
His conversion attempt just missed the mark but he’d improved the margin to 24-12.
Gulgong scored a late consolation try in the dying minutes but by then the Roosters had already done enough and they finished with a 24-16 win.
Cobar’s Best & Fairest points went to the team’s top three workhorses, who played big games in both defence and attack: Tim Hillam (three points and the Players’ Player honour), Tristan Everett (2) and Zane Taylor (1).
Cobar heads to Gilgandra this Saturday to play the Panthers in the Boronia Cup Chal-lenge match.