BARRABA captain Tim Coombes wasn’t too concerned with his side’s first loss of the season after it went down 30-22 at Kootingal.
The Roosters played a smart game and slowly took the premiers’ defence apart running wide of the ruck.
The sides went try for try for sixty minutes before the Roosters pulled in front and dominated the final ten minutes for the win.
It was a great game for the crowd as opposing captains Coombes and Nathan Hamlin had their respective packs fired up and throwing themselves at each other while opposing playmakers Joey Latham and Jordan Sharpe weaved their magic with classy backlines.
With the current draw inexplicably having two byes every week, the long weekend meant that the premiers had had three weeks off the field.
Coombes thought that the spell told on the field.
“We were a bit scrappier than we can be,” Coombes said.
“A few errors and a few passes not hitting targets and things like that.
“We stayed with them though and we were both walking at the end.”
Coombes led from the front and stormed through the defence for the Bulldogs’ first two tries.
In the meantime, Kooty had also scored two and the battle of the halves began.
Joey Latham was outstanding for Barraba again as was Luke White who took a lot of metres in the first half.
Kooty hooker Matt McCullogh was outstanding, stealing plenty of yards with dummy half scoots and playing well above his weight in defence.
A 16-16 halftime score was fair and, when Latham put Brad Craddock under the posts after the break, it looked like the premiers had found their groove.
It wasn’t to be as errors and silly penalties put the Roosters on the front foot and Jack McHattan crashed over to even the score.
Another two penalties in a row hurt the Bulldogs.
McCullogh took a quick tap on the second and Hamlin stormed through for a captain’s try to take the lead, with a penalty goal to seal the win shortly after.
Kooty won the same fixture last year, before exiting in the semis, while Barraba went on to win the flag.
“It’s only round one so nothing to worry about yet,” Coombes said.
“They were too good on the day and that day was today.”
“We will get another go.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the premiers who will travel to Dungowan Recreation Reserve tomorrow to tackle the Dungowan Cowboys for the first time this season.
Unbeaten Kooty goes to Walcha to play the Roos and Boggabri Kangaroos host Werris Creek at Jubilee Oval.