Crafty hooker a cool head for Kootingal

MATT McCulloch crowned his return to the Kootingal Roosters on Saturday with a brace of tries inside the first 10 minutes at Dungowan.

Kootingal prop Grayson Bradbery has been one of his side’s best in its unbeaten start to the new G4 Second Division season. Photo: Gareth Gardner  030514GGD04

Kootingal prop Grayson Bradbery has been one of his side’s best in its unbeaten start to the new G4 Second Division season. Photo: Gareth Gardner 030514GGD04

The crafty dummy half then kept a cool head to steer his side home in one of the games of the Group 4 Second Division season so far.

The Roosters remain undefeated after the 28-24 point win, although both teams proved why they are favourites to finish in the top five.

The game took several twists, after McCulloch’s first try was instantly negated by the Cowboys with one of their own.

The hooker’s second try put the Roosters out in front again and they never let go of that lead.

Although after looking good with the ball in hand, the tables then turned and it was the Cowboys who had all the ball and attack for the next 40 minutes.

Scrambling defence and huge front-on efforts on their line not only kept the Roosters in front but gave them the confidence to win at the back end of the game.

“We worked on our defence during the week a fair bit,” McCulloch said.

“It really showed compared to our game against Manilla last week.”

Kooty opened the second half the same way as they did the first, with centre Jeremy Moss scoring only minutes after kick-off.

It was not until the home team was down 24-6 that it was finally able to penetrate the Roosters’ line.

Relentless pressure from Dungowan allowed Scott Henry to crash over, before forwards partner Clint Ridley put the ball down on the same spot a few minutes later.

With the scores now within a try of each other, tensions flared and the referee was blowing the pea out of his whistle.

Hard-running Roosters front man Brenden Summerfield got 10 in the bin for aggressive behaviour.

Just as he went to go back on, tensions erupted, with a flurry of punches sending four more to the sidelines.

Kooty’s Moss and Ryan Moore went alongside Cowboy pair  Beau Ryan and Justin Fox.

Fox and Moore will have to front the judiciary or cop an early guilty plea this week.

This was where the experience of McCulloch kicked into gear.

“I was just trying to get the boys to settle down and play footy,” McCulloch said.

The dummy half opened the Cowboys up down the middle a couple of times in the final quarter.

He then put fullback Anthony Smith through a gap for the final try after a deflected pass landed in his arms.

As well as winning refs’ points and players’ player, McCulloch also picked up the Kootingal pool competition on Thursday night.

Although there is an inquiry as to whether  he bumped the table in the final against five-eighth Brett Cloake.

Kooty will host Boggabri on Sunday, with Dungowan on the road to a battling Manilla and Barraba hosting Walcha in an all-Sunday round.

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