Cowboys ride off with shield

DUNGOWAN picked up the first piece of second Second Division silverware on offer for the season, taking out the Steve Pepperell Shield at Kootingal on Saturday.

The Cowboys won both their games well to pip the hosts on for and against for the silverware.

It was their first success in the tournament since 2009 and hopefully, like then, the start of something big.

They went on to win the premiership that year. 

On Saturday after thrashing Bendeemeer in their opening game 22-0 they wrapped up the title with a 32-4 win over Manilla in the final game.

It came down to the final two games with the Cowboys, Roosters, Tigers and Walcha all winning their first games.

With Kootingal scoring late to beat Walcha 12-6 it meant that if the Cowboys won by six or more they’d take the spoils.

The Cowboys started well with Mitch Brown breaking through the Tigers midfield defence and then offloading to a supporting Josh Steele to, with the conversion, make it 6-nil.

That quickly became 12-nil with the Cowboys in again about a minute later.

The Tigers hit back with hooker Amos Ioasa burrowing over from dummy half after a silly penalty had seen the Tigers advanced about 50m. 

They had started to get their offloads going and were looking threatening.

The Cowboys answered back just before half-time with Beau Ryan running a good angle and brushing off two or three defenders.

He converted for a perfect first half record and to push the Cowboys out to 18-4 at the break.

The second half was more of the same with the Cowboys muscling up in defence and playing with some real fluency in attack.

“We were a bit rough that first game but we hit our groove in the second one,” coach Luke Taylor said.

He thought the draw probably worked in their favour a bit. The Tigers played the first game and then had to wait until the last of the day.

They, on the other hand, only had three games in between their games.

The Cowboys will carry good momentum into the season with Saturday’s success coming on the back of a trial win over the North Tamworth seconds a couple of weeks before.

“We’ve got a lot of new boys, a lot of new faces to the team,” Taylor said.

“The more time they spend together they better they’ll gel.”

Despite scoring over 50 points for the day it was their defence that really impressed him.

He thought that was the strongest part of their game.

They only conceded one try for the day.

“Definitely in the second game against Manilla the defence set the platform,” Taylor said.

There were elements of the attack that impressed him too.

They didn’t drop a lot of pill and really moved the ball well at times. 

“We’ve got some backs that are quite good on their feet,” he said.

“We’re probably (also) a bit more mobile in the forwards.”

He said for the second game they tried to play with a bit more pace around the ruck.

That’s something that will pick up the more games they play.

Their next assignment will be Walcha in the first round, up at Walcha.

That will be a tough encounter on the indications of Saturday.

“They were strong today,” Taylor said.

Before pushing the Roosters, the Roos beat Werris Creek 4-nil. 

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