KOOTINGAL Roosters started well and finished well but in between it was the Werris Creek Magpies who took control in their Group 4 Shield clash at Kootingal Oval on Saturday.
The Roosters won 40-22 to remain unbeaten but the Magpies showed they might be a premiership threat if they can hold the ball.
The two Kangaroo sides, Boggabri and Walcha, also had away wins, the Boggabri Roos defeating Manilla Tigers at Manilla Showground and the Walcha Roos beating Bendemeer Mountain Men 40-28 at Bendemeer Oval.
Walcha coach Peter Berry thought it a “reasonably good win” at Bendemeer.
“We were a little disappointing in a couple of areas though,” Berry said.
“We were a bit slack in defence and copped a couple of bad calls late in the game.”
Second-rower Robert Smith, lock Ben Green and centre Jock Abraham were Walcha’s best while Bruce Murray and Rodney Rolls led the way for the Mountain Men.
“Rod is just a machine,” said Bendy coach Jake Reid. “He just keeps punching it up.
“And Bruce is an inspiration.
“Both are too good to be playing in the Second Division but are back here helping us out.”
Manilla captain-coach Chris Vidler was disappointed for his players.
“We expected to win this one but our completion rate let us down again – same old thing,” he said.
“ We had a quiet first half but the second half was much better.
“We have plenty of things to work on.”
Daniel Fawkes was best for the Tigers.
At Kootingal, the Roosters led 18-nil early before the Magpies hit back to trail 18-10 and 24-10 at half time and then 24-22 with 25 minutes to play.
However the Magpies’ rally faltered as their error rate crept up and the Roosters took charge.
One “no-look pass” cost the Maggies dearly as Rooster centre Jeremy York swooped to kick ahead, regather and score.
That made it 34-22 and, when Ben Williams dived over under the posts, it sealed the game for the home side.
“This will be a good side if they can hold the ball,” assistant coach Lindsay Bowne said.
Magpies coach Ron Dellar agreed.
“We got back into it at 24-22 when we muscled up.
“It was a tough game but you can’t turn the ball over like we did and expect to beat a side like Kootingal.”
Cody Tickle, Thomas Brown and centre Peter Johnson were best for the Magpies while Roosters captain-coach Nathan Hamlin led by example with Paul Ford and halves Jordan Sharpe and Ben Williams and dynamic little hooker Matt McCulloch all impressive.
“It was a tough game,” Hamlin acknowledged.
“We made it hard on ourselves too.
“We started really well that first 20 but then we started giving away penalties.
“We do it every game.
“I don’t know what it is but it’s killing us.”