GALLANT Dungowan only had 14 men and overcame two 10-minute sin-binnings to beat the Boggabri Kangaroos 16-10 at Jubilee Oval.
Veteran forward Shaun Ferguson scored the match-winning try.
The win enabled the fifth-placed Cowboys to stay in touch with fourth-placed Magpies, who beat Gunnedah 38-24 in their Old Boys’ day at Werris Creek.
The Creek are just two points behind third-placed Gunnedah, with Dungowan and Narrabri another two points adrift in equal fifth.
Cowboys captain-coach Lochie Collins praised his side for their huge effort.
“We only had the 14 [players] – had blokes away with work commitments,” Collins said.
“It was tough. [It was] unbelievable the way the boys defended. We had some injuries too and it got tougher when we had one [Jack Rumsby] sin-binned with one of their players [Kyle Gallen] in the first half.
“Then we had to play part of the last 20 minutes with 12 men when Nathan McGuire got sin-binned for a professional foul too. The boys really rolled up their sleeves.”
It was a spirited win, with Liam Hatch and centre Ethan Collins outstanding for the Cowboys.
“Ethan was brilliant – had plenty of runs and plenty of metres,” Collins said.
“Liam won our players’ player [award],” he added of the winger who put his hand up to play second-row against the Roos.
“I told him before the game, ‘The jersey [second row] is your if you want it,’” Collins said. “Liam was brilliant. [He] had a huge game.”
Boggabri club president Greg Haire lamented another close loss for the Kangaroos while praising Dungowan.
“They only had 14 players but they all tackled like demons,” Haire said.
“It was unbelievable defence. There wasn’t much in it either,” he added of a game that was dead-locked at 10-all for a long time. “It was a great game.
“But we did win the ladies league tag game [though]. That was awesome and the best team we’ve put on the paddock this year.”
Dungowan had been unbeaten in league tag and were equal leaders with North Tamworth before Saturday’s loss.
Goalkicking was a factor as both sides scored three tries apiece.
Cassidy Morley starred with two tries while Ashlee Haire also had a good day, scoring a try and kicking three goals, while the Cowgirls could manage just the one goal.
DUNGOWAN 16 (Jack Rumsby, Shaun Ferguson, Liam Hatch tries; Josh Crittenden 2 goals) d BOGGABRI 10 (Jack Gillham, Mat Gillham tries; Jayde Campbell goal) NORTH WEST FARM MACHINERY AGCO B&F: 3 Frazer Evans (D), 2 Nathan Miller (B), 1 Matt Wilson (D).
Ladies League Tag: BOGGABRI 18 (Cassidy Morley 2, Ashlee Haire tries; Haire 3 goals) d DUNGOWAN 14 (Liz Thomas, Brianna Trickett, Libby Welsh tries, Sarah Stackman goal) NORTH WEST FARM MACHINERY AGCO B&F: 3 Cassidy Morley (B), 2 Brianna Trickett (D), 1 Peta Devine (B)
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