Roosters come off second best in a tough, physical battle

Cobar Roosters’ Nathan McAndrew was wrapped up in by the Panthers as he tried to force his way to the try line in Saturday’s First Grade game at Tom Knight Oval.

The Cobar Roosters First Grade side hosted last season’s grand final winners, Gilgandra Panthers, in Round 7 of the 2019 Christie & Hood Castlereagh League on Saturday afternoon at Tom Knight Memorial Oval.

Despite a late spirited comeback by the Roosters, the visitors finished with a convincing 58-20 win.

The game was a tough, physical match that threatened to boil over in the final stages when a Gilgandra player was sent to the sin bin for a reckless tackle.

The match began on an even scale with both sides scoreless after 10 minutes of intense, fast paced and hard hitting play.

The Panthers then started to find gaps in the Roosters’ defence and racked up 28 points before the Roosters crossed just before half time.

Tristan Everett regathered in the ball after a short kick off from a restart which surprised the Panthers and had the Roosters quickly attacking their line.

Tim Hillam eventually muscled his way over the line close to the posts which made for a simple conversion for Jay Egan.

A converted try right on the half time siren saw the Gilgandra team go to the sheds with a comfortable 34-6 lead.

The Roosters returned to the field and were immediately on the attack hitting their line time after time, however a few mistakes crept into their game through rushed play which allowed the Panthers back into the game.

Gilgandra regained the ascendency and ran in another runaway try to extend their lead to

The Roosters then made the most of a penalty close to the line with Mitch Grey diving over to score and Egan converted.

The Cobar team found it hard to contain the quick running Panthers players and when their pacey Forward Hayden Smith ran in his third try the score had blown out to 52-12.

The Roosters however ploughed on with Jai Stephenson, Nathan McAndrew, Jedd Noonan, Alistair Travis and Hillam all kept busy in defence.

With the clock ticking down, and despite fatigue, the Roosters re-surged which saw Jacob Good almost score before he was taken out into touch.

David Watson made a charge for the line and was held up but managed to get a pass out to Hillam who scored.

Despite having a commanding lead the Panthers became rattled with the Roosters onslaught.

Gilgandra’s panicked play led to a succession of penalties and the loss of one of their players to the sin bin.

The Roosters capitalised on the overlap and, after a good run by McAndrew, a pass out wide had Noonan streaking away to score on the wing just before full time.

McAndrew shared in the referee’s Best and Fairest points for the match along with Gilgandra’s Luke Ritchie and DJ Smith.