NORTH Tamworth Bears ran away with Sunday’s second grade qualifying final against South West Robins at Jack Woolaston Oval.
The Bears led 14-12 at halftime against a spirited Robins but kicked clear with a powerful second half, crossing for six tries in the second term to win 48-20.
Winger Dan Boland was one of the stars, crossing for two 50m tries and having a hand in a few others.
Shaquille Ervine, Jese Murray, who scored a brilliant first half try, and little hooker Damien Cutmore, who also scored a great first half try, also starred for Norths.
Captain coach Nicholas O’Leary also led the way with some big charges in close and a try of his own.
“We had a good start,” O’Leary said after the game. “At half time we talked about going forward and not taking a backward step.”
His forward pack did just that with Ervine, Robert Morris and Daniel Semms all prominent.
On the back of that came some big darts from Boland, Cutmore and Jesse Murray.
“Dan cut them to pieces,” O’Leary added.
He said his side has battled injuries all season and has four players already out with season-ending injuries. “All the boys have stepped up,” he said.
The Robins wilted in the second half after a good first half where they fought back from a 10-nil deficit to push the Bears.
Halfback Nelson Smith, five-eight Corey Hall and little hooker Henry Slater led the way, with Smith scoring one try and engineering tries for Ben and Shane Howarth.
The Robins now face Bendemeer in next Saturday’s minor preliminary final while the Bears tackle Barraba in Sunday’s major preliminary final.
NORTH TAMWORTH 48 (Dan Boland 2, Michael Hodges, Blake Cameron, Robert Morris, Nicholas O’Leary, Damien Cutmore, Shaquille Ervine, Jesse Murray tries, Cutmore 6gls) d SOUTH WEST ROBINS 20 (Braden Livingston, Ben Howarth, Shane Howarth, Nelson Smith, Jarryd Knox tries).
KOOTINGAL Roosters earned a major preliminary final showdown with North Tamworth after overwhelming Barraba 31-nil in Sunday’s league tag qualifying final at Jack Woolaston Oval.
The Roosters dominated from the outset, converting a 15-nil half time lead into a six-try success.
Rooster coach Damian Allan was delighted with the performance for what is essentially a new side.
“It was basically a new side at the start of the year,” Allan said.
“Great they have gelled so well together. They have come a long way.”
It was also the first time Kootingal had played Barraba this season, given the difficulty of devising a draw for the 11-team LLT to fit in with the first and second grade men’s competitions.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Allan added.
“They (Barraba) have some handy players and they did play all right but we did defend really well.”
He was delighted they kept Barraba to nil as well.
Natasha Allan and captain Kendall Horne led the way for the Roosters while Monique Cook, Aimee Diebold and Jessica Baker, who grabbed two intercept tries, also excelled for the side.
Barraba’s Zoe Darlington, Hayley Lott, Ashleigh Lowe, Kelly Phillips and little number 17 Sharika Nean-Bell were the best for Barraba, with Nean-Bell particularly energetic.
KOOTINGAL 31 (Jessica Baker 2, Tobi-Lee Clough, Aimee Diebold, Kendall Horne, Natasha Allan (5pt try) tries, Jessica Baker 2, Aimee Diebold gls) d BARRABA 0.
BOGGABRI Kangaroos earned a major preliminary final berth against Werris Creek next Sunday after a dominant win over South West Robins in Sunday’s qualifying final at Jack Woolaston Oval.
The Jason Kemp-coached Boggabri side won 21-4 after leading 11-nil at half time.
Spearheading the win was talented young fullback Cassidy Morley, who crossed twice, her final try sealing the win with five minutes left on the clock.
“Cassidy was as per usual,” Kemp said.
“Brilliant week in and week out. She’s only 16, has a big future.”
The Kangaroos led early when Peta Devine scored a five point try before Caitlyn Dewar added a second for a good half time lead.
Morley then crossed early in second half to extend the lead before Jacqueline Murphy, always a threat on the right flank, crossed for the Robins’ only try.
It was a good all round performance, Kemp said, even if the first half was a little “flat”.
“We were a bit tired in the first half but picked up in the second half,” he said.
“It was semi-final football though. A win’s a win.”
While Morley excelled, Kemp said Chloe Davis was “real good out of dummy half” and Devine also organised well in attack.
“All our middle played really well,” he said.
“But the big thing was our defence. To hold them to four was real good.”
South West Robins now play Bendemeer in next Saturday’s minor preliminary final.
Jacqueline Murphy, Jess Beale, Renee Leigh, Gina Wager and Maria Monika were best for the Robins.
BOGGABRI 21 (Cassidy Morley 2, Peta Devine (5pt try), Caitlyn Dewar tries, Braie Devine, Peta Devine gls) d SOUTH WEST ROBINS 4 (Jacqueline Murphy try).
NORTH Tamworth halfback Jackson Finlay scored an 80m try in the final minute of his side’s under-18 qualifying final against a brave Boggabri Kangaroos at Jack Woolaston Oval on Sunday to claim a thrilling 26-24 win in extra time.
The Bears had led 16-6 at half time against a side that had started with 12 men and looked to have the game under control before the Roos fought back with three second half tries.
The two sides were locked at 22-all at fulltime and when classy fullback Jonathon Crowe kicked a penalty goal midway through the second half of five minutes each way, it looked like they were capable of staging a gallant win with just the 12 men.
The Bears number seven had other ideas. Finlay had scored a brilliant individual try in the first half and picked the perfect time to find a gap on the outside and race down the western sideline for a match winning try with less than a minute of the second period of extra time left.
The Bears now line up against Dungowan in this Sunday’s major preliminary final while the Boggabri Kangaroos tackle Narrabri in their minor preliminary final on Saturday.
Boggabri were unlucky after hanging in during the first half and then scoring some good tries in the second half.
Hooker Michael Long was outstanding, crossing for two tries and making some scything low tackles.
Prop Rylan Simms had a huge game as did lock Hawken Durrant, five-eighth Bailey Lennox and fullback Crowe.
The Bears had plenty of outstanding players as well, with second-rower Jake Bennett scoring two tries. Lock Isaac Moxon and second-rower Steven Morgan also impressive.
Centres Hudson Shaw and Nick Taggart also excelled and prop Ryan Potter also starred for the Ken Allen-coached Bears.
Allen had plenty of praise for Boggabri.
“Full credit to Boggabri,” he said.
“They came here with 12 players and only got beat 26-24 in extra time.
“It’s been a hard road for our boys too. They are full of self belief.”
NORTH TAMWORTH 26 (Jake Bennett 2, Jackson Finlay 2, Bailey McRea tries, Hudson Shaw 3gls) d BOGGABRI 24 (Michael Long 2, Jonathon Crowe, Connor Fordham tries, Jonathon Crowe 4gls).
BENDEMEER Mountain Men fought back in the second half to end Wee Waa’s second grade season at David Taylor Park on Saturday.
Down 20-18 at half time, the Mountain Men won 36-34 in a seesawing second half.
A try straight after half time when little winger Alex Schefe crossed in the corner enabled Bendy to take a 22-20 lead but Wee Waa hit back with tries to Phillip Vincent and captain-coacher Scott Spencer took the Panthers to a 28-22 lead.
Bendy scrambled back into the game when prop Leroy Murray sliced over but they dropped the ball from the kickoff Wee Waa replied with a try by Jayden Hayne.
At 34-26 they could have sewn up the game but Murray crashed over for his second try and the Mountain men had another sniff.
Ryley Taylor then engineered a brilliant try for centre Jamarley Jerrard, his back hand flick as he headed to the ground found Jerrard perfectly placed for him to dive over. When Jai Cain converted it was Bendy 36-34.
Try as Wee Waa might they couldn’t find a reply, three times they were held up over the line in a desperate final few minutes.
Dane Russell, Mitchell Hamilton and Phillip Vincent were all over the line but couldn’t ground the ball.
Bendemeer coach, Will Jerrard, was delighted with his side’s effort and will to win.
“They kept going, a real good win,” Jerrard said. “A lot of hard work, there’s a lot of spirit in this side and they all played well.”
Wee Waa had their chances and also had a number of good players led by hard working backrower Dane Russell, fullback Rob Dolan and little five-eighth Isaiah Adams.
BENDEMEER 36 (Leroy Murray 2, Brayden Jerrard, Tyrill Knox, Stephen Yorkshire, Alex Schefe, Jamarley Jerrard, Jai Cain 4gls) d WEE WAA 34 (Rob Dolan, Justin Croaker, Isaiah Adams, Lyndon Murphy, Phillip Vincent, Scott Spencer, Jayden Hayne tries, David Toomey 2, Rob Dolan gls).
DUNGOWAN Cowgirls held off Gunnedah to win their league tag tier-one elimination final by a point at Werris Creek’s David Taylor Park on Saturday.
The Cowgirls won 7-6, the difference being Paris Knox’s early runaway try for Dungowan.
The five-point try was converted by Sarah Stackman for a 7-nil lead but Gunnedah did hit back when Maddy Adams sliced through to score under the posts for Gunnedah.
Zoe Fleming converted and the sides went to half time 7-6.
Fortunes fluctuated in the second half as both sides made some threatening breaks but the Cowgirls held their line to prevail and earn a minor semi-final berth next Saturday.
“We had a fair few chances to score,” Dungowan coach Luke Taylor said. “And we had good field position in the second half too, most of the game. We also dug deep in defence too.”
He thought Hope martin had a big game, as well as fullback Brianna Trickett.
“Sarah Taylor was good in the second half, getting them around the park good. And Sarah Stackman too, she’s been good all year pushing us around the place.”
DUNGOWAN 7 (Paris Knox (5pt try) try, Sarah Stackman gl) d GUNNEDAH 6 (Maddy Adams try, Zoe Fleming gl).
BENDEMEER kept their league tag tier-two premiership hopes alive with a hard earned 13-10 win over Wee Waa at David Taylor Park on Saturday.
The Josh Spillett-coached Bendy girls scored three tries to two with Summer Reid crossing for the all-important first try of the game.
Under the innovative Group 4 rules for the league tag, the first try scored in all finals games is worth five points.
The five-point first try is to try and ensure there is no extra time in finals matches.
Group 4 elected to split the LLT into a two-tiered competition to give 10 of the 11 teams finals football and premiership hopes.
It did mean however that the finals action became five-game days and a 10am start.
So the Bendemeer girls gained an extra advantage when Summer Reid crossed to make it 5-nil. Joan O’Leary followed with her own try while Antoinette Wenner also scored for Wee Waa in the first half. Telisha Hilderson’s conversion made it 9-6 at half time.
Judy Lamb’s second half try eked Bendy out to a 13-6 lead but then a dropped ball 30m out by Bendy enabled the ever-present Wenner to scoop it up and scamper away to score and make it 13-10.
The Bendy girls held on to earn a berth in next Saturday’s minor semi-final and impressed their coach with their defence.
“They did defend well,” Josh Spillett said. “We had a real good start but we also did hang on the second half.”
He said he has a good side. “They are a good bunch of girls, very happy.”
He though Joan O’Leary, Jane Bevitt and Tarneice Berry were his “standouts” while Tshinta Knox, Dhalara Knox, Kita Knox and Susan Mundine also excelled.
Wee Waa’s best were two-try scorer Antoinette Wenner, Kerry Cochrane, Amanda Korach and Telisha Hilderson.
BENDEMEER 13 (Summer Reid (5pt try), Judy Lamb, Joan O’Leary tries) d WEE WAA 10 (Antoinette Wenner 2 tries, Telisha Hilderson gl).
NARRABRI Blues staged one of the most spirited fightbacks seen on a Group 4 field when they fought back from a 12-point deficit with 11 players at times to beat Kootingal-Moonbi Roosters 28-24 in the under-18 elimination final at David Taylor Park on Saturday.
Kootingal had taken control of the knockout semi after good tries from Jack Wainwright, Kobi Etcell and Kendall MacTavish tries were converted by halfback Dylan Ciprian,
Harry Pattison’s try and conversion for Narrabri left the Blues 18-6 at half time.
The Blues had started the game without any reserves and when prop Kody Bevan went off they were down to 12 players. Second-rower Kalab McMillan’s sin binning left them with 11!
Early in the second half Kootingal were rucking the ball out from their own line when centre Lachlan Hedley ripped the ball out of the rooster runner’s hands.
Two tackles later and second rower Tom Hodge scored for the Blues as the game changed.
Resolute defence from the Blues kept the Roosters out. And then came another crucial score for the Blues, with Aaron Baker diving on a grubber to help level the scores. However he copped a heavy knock in the process and was helped off and Narrabri was back to 11 men for the rest of the game.
Soon after came one of the most electric plays of the season. Kootingal had engineered an overlap, given the extra two men, and centre Liam Mack dashed down the western sideline, stepping inside the Narrabri fullback Lachlan Trindall. He looked certain to score until wiry hooker Bailey Toomey pounced.
Toomey’s startling and sparkling run to drop Mack with a punishing legs tackle was probably the tackle of the season, a memorable moment for us spectators and a pulsating pivotal moment.
A few minutes later and Narrabri were in front after outstanding pivot Liam Doyle scored in the corner.
Up 22-18 the Blues still had a massive 11 minutes to withstand.
When Kootingal second-rower Cameron Kerr crashed over and Ciprian converted with a low skimmer the Blues were down 24-22.
With seven minutes remaining they could have accepted they had done enough under hugely trying circumstances with 11 men.
They completed the unthinkable, halfback Rodney Lamb darting over from dummy to score wide out and Pattison convert.
There was still time for the Roosters to kick off and almost remain possession but set a scrum and have two tackles from that.
However it wasn’t enough and the Blues celebrated a famous win.
Narrabri coach Grant Bell was astounded and amazed by the result but not surprised by his young side.
“A good little win,” Bell said. “Injuries have been hard on us this year. We had four boys backing up who played for the 16s last night.
“They are all good kids. They are all 16 or 17, we’ve got one 18 [year-old] in the side so most of them will be back next year, plus we have some good 16s coming through as well.”
While Toomey and Hedley pulled off brilliant plays, the whole hearted effort from their teammates was impressive and heart warming.
McMillan, Tom Hodge, Jordyn Mowle, Liam Doyle and Trindall were outstanding.
Kootingal also had plenty of commitment and some outstanding players such as Johnty Pettet, Liam Mack, Jack Wainwright, Kobi Etcell, Ciprian and MacTavish.
NARRABRI 28 (Harry Pattison, Liam Doyle, Rodney Lamb, Tom Hodge, Aaron Baker tries, Pattison 4gls) d KOOTINGAL 24 (Jack Wainwright, Kobi Etcell, Kendall MacTavish, Cameron Kerr tries, Dylan Ciprian 4gls).
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