It’s been said before that Cobar Roosters rugby league teams are hard to beat at home and that was again the case when the previously unbeaten top of the table Gilgandra First Grade visited on Saturday.
The Round 6 match of the Christie and Hood Castlereagh Rugby League competition was an exciting game that finished in a grinding 16-all draw.
The Cobar side, which just keeps getting better each week, had a score to settle from Round 1 in which Gilgandra finished as 40-20 winners, and while they would have liked to have claimed a win, the Roosters demonstrated they were equal to the competition leaders on Saturday.
Played in very wintery conditions at Tom Knight Memorial Oval, the home side took a 10-6 lead to the break after fullback Tim Hillam swivelled out of the grasp of would-be tacklers early in proceedings to commence what was to be territorially a big half for the home side.
It took until the 33rd minute before the Panthers were to register their first points, courtesy of a try to their classy second rower Alex Ronanye.
Luke Ritchie raised the flags from the conversion and the visitors took the lead 6-4.
That lead however was short lived with the Rooster’s rangy centre Nathan McAndrew benefiting from some good ball movement down the left flank and he plunged over out wide to score.
To the delight of the Roosters crowd Jimmy Neyland nailed the sideline conversion to complete the first half scoring.
The break did the Panthers no harm and their livewire hooker, Jamie Towney soon had the visitors back in front when he was able to force his way over from dummy half in the third minute for a converted try.
With good field position being offered on a platter to the Roosters through a series of conceded penalties, the Panthers were on the back foot and forced to defend their line grimly, something that they were called on to do repeatedly throughout the second stanza as the Roosters launched attack after attack.
They did however crack when Cobar’s second-rower Sione Fakahua, was able to touch down after 11 minutes of the second half had elapsed to score what was to become a very important converted try for his side.
The Panthers responded at the mid-way point of the half when Towney was able to go in again out wide to lock the scores up at 16-all.
From that point the game was well and truly in the balance and, with Cobar applying the pressure, it seemed only a matter of time before they would edge ahead as they repeatedly pounded the Gilgandra line.
The visitors however were equal to the challenge and their resilience in defence over the final stages of the game was the key to them being able to bank the very important one competition point for the draw which sees them remain two points ahead of the Roosters on the competition ladder as the race to the minor premiership heats up.
Cobar however will be buoyed by their recent performances and they most certainly are well and truly a major premiership contender.
The Roosters travel to Baradine this Saturday for Round 7 of the competition.