Bulldogs to turn it up for win in a tough place

BARRABA Bulldogs continued their impressive start to the Group 4 Second Division season by making Bendemeer’s hopes of a semi final berth start to look very slim.

Adam Rutley was one of Bendy's best in their loss to Barraba. They have to beat Walcha at home this Saturday to keep any real semi final hopes alive. Photo: Geoff O'Neill 240514GOC05

Adam Rutley was one of Bendy's best in their loss to Barraba. They have to beat Walcha at home this Saturday to keep any real semi final hopes alive. Photo: Geoff O'Neill 240514GOC05

Saturday’s 48-16 win at Bendemeer Oval wasn’t the score line Jake Reid and the Mountain Men were hoping for.

Instead they became another statistic in Barraba’s unbeaten season.

The reigning premiers have scored more points than any side, and given up less than any side, on its way to five wins from five games.

On Saturday it was missing two of its best, Luke White and Jesse Phillips, but that didn’t affect the Bulldog side too much.

Once again captain-coach Tim Coombes was motoring down the middle of the ruck with lock Jayse Starr a star contributor and brilliant pivot Joey Latham creating havoc early.

“It was a funny sort of game,” Coombes said.

“We’ve got some good young blokes and they all went well too.

“I was pretty happy with the way we played.”

His side did make some errors but when it did complete its sets of six the Bendy boys were stretched.

Barraba now has a couple of weeks off before it plays Kootingal in what will be a top of the table clash at Kootingal Oval on June 14.

“We’ve got the bye this week and then the long weekend off,” Coombes said.

“Then we play Kooty. It’s a fair break for us so we’ll be sticking it in at training. We’ll have a couple of hard weeks and train this Saturday too.

“Hopefully we’ll get a couple of good weeks of training in for them. Notching can substitute match practice but we’ll be turning it up at training.

“Kooty’s a tough place to go and win.”

Kootingal had the weekend off and play Werris Creek this Saturday before enjoying another long weekend break and heading into the Barraba match.

Werris Creek and Walcha are equal fourth on eight points, four ahead of Bendemeer.

Bendemeer’s season could be on the line as early as this Saturday when the Mountain Men hosts Walcha Roos.

“Bendemeer at Bendemeer is a pretty tough game,” said Walcha coach Peter Berry.

“We’ve got a couple hopefully back from injury.”

Berry asked his players to “play for each other” last Saturday and they responded well with 62-20 win over Manilla.

“They went out and backed each other up, they played pretty well.”

They can enhance their semi final prospects this Saturday while severely denting Bendy’s hopes.

Dungowan Cowboys have a welcome bye this weekend after starting well but stuttering against Boggabri Kangaroos at Jubilee Oval, Boggabri on Saturday.

The Cowboys led 24-6 at half time but frittered away their chances in the second half to edge home 36-22 winners.

“Tubby wasn’t real happy,” said club president Bruce Henry.

“We started well but then a lot of sloppy play, a lot of dropped ball and stupid penalties.

Clint Ridley, hooker Lachie Collins and playmaker Matt Wilson were best for the Cowboys who have some niggling injuries to overcome.

In the other match this Saturday winless Manilla and Boggabri could be playing for the wooden spoon.

G4 SECOND DIVISION TABLE 

Barraba 12, Kootingal 12, Dungowan 10, Werris Creek 8, Walcha 8, Bendemeer 4, Boggabri 2, Manilla 2.

THIS SATURDAY: Manilla v Boggabri (Manilla Showground), Walcha v Bendemeer (Bendemeer Oval), Kootingal v Werris Creek (Kootingal Oval), Dungowan, Barraba byes.

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