BOTH captain-coaches scored tries as Manilla and Kootingal kicked off the first game of a Group 4 First and Second Division double header at Manilla Showground on Saturday before the Kootingal Roosters proved too strong for the hosts, winning 40-16.
At Werris Creek’s David Taylor Park, Barraba Bulldogs came calling and the reigning premiers booted clear in the second half to beat the home side 40-12.
The Bulldogs led 12-6 at halftime but, with captain-coach Tim Coombes and fellow prop Shaun Spence leading the way, ran away with the game in the second half.
Spence received the three points from the referee in the G4 B&F while Coombes crashed across for three short- range tries.
At Bendemeer Oval the Mountain Men were the only home side to win, withstanding a late Boggabri surge to snare a 20-16 victory.
Peter Gardner, Nathan Flynn, Adam Ruttley and Harlee Milgate starred for the home side, which registered its first win under coach Jake Reid.
At Manilla Showground, the home side Tigers were let down by some lapses in concentration either side of halfway after a tight opening first half, eventually going down 40-16.
Roosters captain-coach Nathan Hamlin only took five minutes to crash over for the first points, with the visitors having the lion’s share of possession.
Tigers captain-coach Chris Vidler hit straight back however with a try of his own five minutes later to level the score.
The Tigers’ scramble was keeping them in the game as they struggled to gain control of the ball, with hooker Kurt Sivyers doing a mountain of work around the ruck.
Another try to Kooty had them leading 10-6 for most of the half, although the Tigers were putting up a good fight with some end-to-end football for the crowd.
Just before halftime a lapse in defence saw Kaidyn Saunders score his first of three in the left corner to make it 14-6.
Only a try-saving tackle over the corner post on the bell by Tigers winger Jeremy Clare prevented another.
Straight after the break the other Roosters winger Jeremy Moss crossed to take the lead out to 18-6.
The Tigers brought it back to 18-12 with a try off the back of two penalties but the points either side of the break proved too much for the home side as the pressure took its toll.
The Roosters were starting to win the contest up the middle and put points on the board. With ten minutes to go they were up 28-12.
A runaway try to Tigers utility Dylan Wells was matched by two tries in the final minutes to the visitors to close the game out.
Kooty president Neil Constable said they were expecting a tough game and that is what they got.
“When we stuck to our structure we looked good in phases,” Constable said.
“We moved away from it a little bit at times and it got scrappy.”
James Considine came off the bench into the front row and put on some big hits in defence to take out players’ player, with an inspired performance from Hamlin taking the ref’s three.
Channelling Darren Lockyer after a hit to the throat, Tigers club captain Mitch Goman said that while the team improved greatly from last week’s loss to the Creek, there was still a lot to do.
“It is just those lapses in concentration that cost us.”