A four-try effort from centre Josh Steel helped Dungowan rope a 32-10 first round win over Boggabri in their Second Division season opener at Dungowan on Saturday.
The Cowboys struck first, Lochie Collins grubbering through a loose ball and winning the race to the line, and never relinquished control on the scoreboard.
“We have a lot of new blokes,” new Cowboys co-coach Clint Ridley said.
“It was good to get a win and get their confidence up.”
Both sides suffered a bit of first game syndrome with dropped balls and forward passes, but had their moments in attack and produced some strong defence at times.
The Kangaroos looked the better side in the early stages, making good metres from their sets, but had nothing to show for it until half-back Robert Jones forced his way through the Cowboys defence close to the line.
Their own worst enemies at times, the Cowboys showed some good slight of hand to score their second and pull eight points clear with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Steel then made that 14 after the half-time hooter with the first of his four.
In a double blow to the Roos, centre Jack Gillham was sent-off for a trip in the lead-up play, leaving them with only 12 for the second half.
Their woes were compounded further when they didn’t secure the kick-off and from the drop-out Steel pushed through two defenders to make it 24-4.
He was in again not long after as the home side established a commanding advantage, Ridley citing the try right after half-time as the one that really set them on their winning way.
“That boosted our confidence and maybe damaged theirs,” he said.
“There’s nothing worse than 30 seconds in having a try scored against you.”
“We probably got a bit carried away after that throwing the ball around too much.”
Fortunately their defence was good enough that Boggy couldn’t make them pay.
“We defended pretty well. They’ve got some big blokes,” he said.
The skipper last season, he has stepped up to assist brother Corey with the coaching duties.
“It’s been a pretty steep learning curve,” he said.
Jack Pawsey directed the show well at five-eighth, while Ethan Sherlock, back after having a year off, was good at fullback.
Backrower Jeremy Morgan also had a big game and picked up the referees three points.
Boggabri coach David Harris said discipline was the biggest killer for them, especially in the first half.
“I thought our second 40 we played a lot better and a lot smarter, even down a man,” he said.
“We just defended to much.
“But I’m proud of them.”
He thought young fullback Brendan Gillham, who was the Kangaroos other tryscorer, was brilliant.
Also playing his first senior game for them Aaron Hobden was good on the wing, while Jayde Campbell had a strong game in his first at hooker.