The Kootingal-Moonbi Roosters overcame player send-offs and sin-binnings to beat Narrabri 64-12 to claim the minor premiership at Collins Park.
While the Roosters have collected titles in the old Group 4 Second Division, to snare a first grade minor premiership in their first year in the new revamped premier competition is glowing testimony to their talent and the coaching ability of their mentor Geoff Sharpe.
Indeed, the bus trip home from Narrabri on Saturday was a memorable one, Sharpe said.
“We celebrated it well,” Sharpe said. “They’ve come together well. [It’s] nice to win the minor premiership – shows we’ve had a pretty good season so far.”
His side entered the final round game on top of the table on for-and-against, with a 22-point better differential than reigning premiers North Tamworth.
And they struck early, leading 18-0 after just 15 minutes.
“We got on the front foot early,” Sharpe said. “Shane Salvador, Kyle Cochrane and Mitch Denning made some big charges. Narrabri gave away some penalties too.”
The game also exploded, with Salvador alleged to have run into a fracas and was then sent from the field, while two players, one apiece from either side, were binned as well.
“We had 11 on 12 at one stage and then 12 on 13 for the majority of the game after that,” Sharpe said.
“It was a big challenge. The boys played well though. [I’m] pretty happy with them especially their defence. It was a lot better than last week [in a loss to Gunnedah].”
Marshall Field was another Rooster to impress, with the 19-year-old winger enjoying his best game of the season.
“He’s played a couple of games for us,” Sharpe said. “He’s been away with work and got his chance against Narrabri [and] played well.”
No.6 Jordan Sharpe, hooker Ryan Martin, who crossed for three tries, and fullback Doring took control around the ruck for Kooty to spearhead the win.
Lock Cameron McDonald also starred and won the players’ player award for the Roosters.
In the major preliminary final at Kootingal in a fortnight, the Roosters will play either North Tamworth or Gunnedah, who match up in Sunday’s major semi-final.
KOOTINGAL-MOONBI64 (Ryan Martin 3, Mitch Doring 2, Cameron McDonald 2, Marshall Field, Mitch Denning, Anthony Smith, Brodie Sowter tries; Doring 10 goals) d NARRABRI 12 (Les Boney, Norman Lawler tries; Blake Hilderson 2 goals)
Under 18: KOOTINGAL 26 (Connor Harvey, Liam Mack, Jason Keys, Cameron Kerr, Jock Tomlinson tries, Dylan Ciprian 3gls) d NARRABRI 10 (Tom Hodge, Blake Ryan tries, Harry Pattison gl).
Ladies League Tag: KOOTINGAL 44 (Abriaana Dow 3, Mykenzie Semple 2, Natalie Nean, Jessica Baker, Kendall Horne tries, Baker 6gls) d NARRABRI 0.