KOOTINGAL Roosters held off a below-strength Dungowan Cowboys to register a fourth successive Group 4 Second Division win on a day where reigning premiers Barraba had a big home win over struggling Manilla and Walcha produced a big second half to beat Werris Creek Magpies in their clash at Captain Cook Park, Walcha.
The Roosters beat the Cowboys 28-24 at the Dungowan Recreation Reserve, although the Cowboys were coming home strongly after being down 24-6 at one stage.
Two tries in the first ten minutes to Kooty hooker Matt McCulloch put the visitors out in front early.
After putting on three tries to one in the first half, the Roosters closed ranks and defended for the middle 40 minutes of the game.
The home side had most of the possession and even a few lots of repeat sets on the line but could not penetrate.
The final 20 minutes had the crowd on their feet as the home side started coming home and tensions erupted.
Five players were sin binned or sent off in the final 15 minutes as the Cowboys fell one try short.
Rooster captain-coach Nathan Hamlin said that the team’s scramble and commitment in defence won it the match.
“We started really well but then couldn’t get any attack on them,” Hamlin said.
“Keeping them to only six at halftime gave us a boost.”
McCulloch was players’ player and the ref’s choice, although the big hits of Grayson Bradbery and the hard running of Brenden Summerfield were highlights of the Roosters’ game.
At Walcha, the Kangaroos were down 22-10 at halftime but improved in the final 40 minutes to post a 32-26 victory.
Walcha coach Peter Berry was delighted with the second half.
“We had a bit of a yarn at half time,” Berry said.
“We went to sleep in the first half – didn’t complete our sets of six.
“But we had a good talk and they did everything we asked of them in the second half.”
Glen Olrich was one of the stars.
“He normally comes off the interchange bench but our winger was out today and he played there,” Berry said of a player who had a “roaming” commission.
“He played just about every position and did well,” he said.
“Jason Latham was also great (halfback) and Lachlan Laurie was strong up front.”
Fellow second-rower Robert Smith was another to play well and centre Lachlan Brown and skipper Troy Yarnold all earned plaudits from their coaches.
“Our Jillaroos won too, 40-6, so it was a good day,” Berry said.
At Barraba Sportsground, reigning premier Barraba flexed its premiership muscle with a 70-12 win over Manilla Tigers.
The Tigers went in without captain-coach Chris Vidler who had a shoulder injury.
He hopes to be back for this Sunday’s fifth round.
Joey Latham was the star for the Bulldogs. He scored three tries and earned the Group and club points for another impressive display.