Knockout hostilities resume on Anzac Day eve

DUNGOWAN Cowboys and Bendemeer Mountain Men clashed in a semi-final of the Wests Knockout at Scully Park before Easter and will face off against each other again on Thursday night in a pre-Anzac Day Group 4 Second Division showdown.

And they will do it on a neutral ground, stepping out onto the Tamworth Rugby Union Club’s Rugby Park for an electric game under lights.

The clash between the Dungowan Cowgirls and Bendy women in their Ladies League Tag match will set the scene for what could be an explosive match after tempers flared in the KO semi-final won 22-12 by the Cowboys.

The Cowboys then lost 22-20 to reigning premiers Barraba  in the KO Final.

Bendy had led the KO semi- final 6-nil after a Michael Sampson try before Andrew Thomas, a former Bendy player, and Ethan Sherlock crossed for a 10-6 lead.

Playmaking five-eighth Matt Wilson and Clint Ridley then scored to give the Cowboys a 22-6 lead before Cameron McDonald hit back for Bendy.

Any Bendemeer fightback was thwarted though by a lack of discipline and  the game disappeared from Bendy’s grasp with some bad errors and cheap shots.

“We lacked discipline,” coach Jake Reid said.

“We’ve got to become better. I might have to change things a bit because we’ve got the ability.”

The ability they do have with the  likes of Bruce Murray, who scored three tries in one KO match, but it was fritterered away by a side that needs to channel its aggression the right way.

They will have their chance to atone for their sins on Thursday night and will be up against a side that incurred some major injuries out of the KO with Beau Ryan (broken arm), Damien Pittman (broken ribs), Will Gooch (dislocated shoulder) and Nathan Preston all suffering varying injuries over that weekend.

The Cowboys showed they have plenty of ticker though by coming from a 20-4 half- time deficit against Barraba to just miss 22-20 in the final.

“We had no excuses,” captain-coach Luke Taylor said after that final.

“They were just too good.”

While the Cowboys and Mountain Men go at it at Magpie Park on Thursday night, Werris Creek and Manilla play their first games of the new G4 Second Division season at David Taylor Park on Saturday.

Captain Cook Park in Walcha will be jumping on Saturday as well, with the Boggabri Kangaroos arriving to tackle the Walcha Kangaroos.

Group 4 First Division also starts Saturday with a North Tamworth-West Lions grand final replay at Jack Woolaston Oval.

On Sunday the Oxley Diggers play their first G4 premiership games against Gunnedah Bullodgs at Kitchener Park, Gunnedah.

Narrabri Blues and Wee Waa Panthers also have a big local derby at Collins Park, Narrabri on Sunday.

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