North Tamworth gave Dungowan a stark reminder of just how tough their move into Group 4’s first-grade competition is going to be, after a second-half demolition finished in a 56-12 Bears victory in a Friday night trial match at Jack Woolaston Oval.
The Cowboys led 12-6 after the first 20 minute quarter and trailed 22-12 at half time before the Bears found their growl with some aggressive defence to dominate the second half.
Led by forwards Shane Wadwell and Brady Barwick, a new recruit, North Tamworth crossed for seven second-half tries. Winger Mitch Sheridan bagged four of them.
The Bears’ first-time coach Scott Blanch was delighted with the trial, the third for the Bears after beating Terrigal on the Central Coast but succumbing to Aberdeen at Aberdeen.
“We have a very similar core of players from last year,” Blanch said.
“But we also have some new guys like Daniel Semms, Colby La Chiusa and Brady Barwick too. They went pretty good. It is exciting for us.”
TBlanch said Dungowan were tough early.
“It was a promising trial for everyone,” he said.
“They put us under pressure early too.”
Like Blanch, Dungowan captain-coach Lochie Collins is a rookie mentor.
The 23-year-old Collins was non-stop as he tried to spark his side in attack and defence in the second half.
“We came here to try and win the first and second quarters,” he said.
“We won the first quarter [12-6] and started real well. But we were never going to match it with them for the full game.
“We had half a dozen players unavailable too, so we will get better but we do have plenty to work with.”
He said halfback Matt Wilson suffered a bad rib injury early on in the game and that restricted his participation.
He thought Zack Hatch, Fraser Evans, Jack Rumsby and Ethan Collins (no relation) all showed they will be valuable additions to the side.
Indeed, Hatch scored the Cowboys’ first try and worked hard in attack and defence all game while Evans, a small prop, also took it to the bigger Bears pack.
Rumsby played in the No.1 jumper but turned up all over the field in a strong display while Ethan Collins did some good things in attack and defence.
Young hooker Corey Manicaros, who played for the Titans under-21 side the past two seasons, was good out of dummy half.
“Very sore,” he replied when asked on how he pulled up.
The Cowboys have next weekend off before beginning their season against Werris Creek at David Taylor Park on April 28,
The Bears opened their season the same, travelling to Bendemeer.
First grade: NORTH TAMWORTH 56 (Mitch Sheridan 4, Scott Blanch 2, Heath Falkenmire, Jake McManus, Nic Dobson, Dan Boland, Richard Clegg tries; Clegg 6 con) d DUNGOWAN COWBOYS 12 (Zack Hatch, Pat Strong tries; Dylan O’Brien 2 con)
Second grade: NORTH TAMWORTH 36 (Nick O’Leary 2, Shaquille Ervine, Zack Nigro, Dylan Bateman, Damien Cutmore tries; Zahn Chisholm 6 cons) d BENDEMEER 22 (Leroy Livermore 2, Damien Johnson, Braden Jerrard tries; Jemarley Jerrard 3 con).