NATHAN Hamlin made his debut as a captain-coach with Kootingal Roosters on Saturday and finished up with the premiership points against Bendemeer as well as a bonus three points in the Group 4 Second Division Best and Fairest.
The Kootingal Roosters began their season with a 34-24 win over the Mountain Men at Bendemeer Oval in a scrappy local derby.
Hamlin was happy with the win but not so with the overall performance.
“We played 30 minutes of good football,” Hamlin said.
“It was a patchy effort but we did play well considering our three halves were all out.”
Jordan Sharpe, Brett Cloake and Matt McCulloch were all missing.
“Full credit to Ben Williams (7) and Mitch Dines (6) – they filled in well.
“And Ladd Jones played hooker for me and also went well.
“But we do have a lot to work on at training.
“We’ve got to stop trying to force the ball in tackles.
“I can’t say too much because I did it too.”
Hamlin found it tough trying to communicate with his players, play and overcome a fitness problem he and his side share.
One good thing is the addition of former West Tamworth player and coach Peter Cook.
“I felt sorry for Cooky, the way he was dumped by West,” he said.
“He’s a big help running the bench for me. I just wish I was a little fitter.”
Hamlin also said versatile Mitchell Baker was a standout for him along with forward leader Grayson Bradbery.
“Mitch played six or seven positions –he played well in every one too and got our players’ player.”
While Kooty began its season with a good win, reigning premiers Barraba scored a try in the last 30 seconds to beat Boggabri 16-12 at Boggabri’s Jubilee Oval.
At Walcha’s Captain Cook Park, Dungowan Cowboys also scored late to beat the homeside Roos 22-20.
Beau Ryan scored both tries after the Cowboys had trailed the home side 16-6 at halftime.
“The first (Ryan try) was a real good ball from Tubby,” club president Bruce Henry sid of captain-coach Luke Taylor’s pass.
“Beau ran 20m to score from that and the second was another real good ball from Justin Fox.”
Henry thought halfback Matt Wilson and Taylor, at five-eighth, were outstanding for the Cowboys.
The Cowboy chairman also believes Walcha will be an even tougher team this year after returning to the field for the first time in over a decade last year.
“They will win more games than they lose,” he said.
“They are going to be fairly competitive.”
Walcha’s Shane Rule highlighted that by receiving the three points in the best and fairest from two-try star Ryan and Walcha’s rugby recruit Lachlan Brown.