DUNGOWAN celebrated a deserving 38-10 win over North Tamworth in the under-18 grand final at Jack Woolaston Oval on Sunday.
The Cowboys led early after a good try from halfback Lockie Smith, who dummied his way through the Bears’ defensive line.
Norths worked hard and went close to scoring in a tough first 25 minutes.
However Cowboys skipper and lock Cody Byrne crossed and Smith converted for Dungowan to lead 12-nil.
The sin-binning of Kieran Peters was a major blow for North Tamworth five minutes before halftime as Dungowan raced in three tries – the second one coming after a great run from prop Ned Zell, who broke several tackles and then offloaded to centre Max Altus, who raced over for his second try.
Leading 30-nil at halftime, the Cowboys edged that out to 34-nil when fullback Mitch Bowen crossed, but the Bears again showed resolve and fought back.
A great flat, cutout pass from Brayden Reid hit Hudson Shaw, for the centre to dive over wide out for the first Bears try.
And then a towering Reid bomb was dropped, for Jock Ellis to dive on and make it 38-10 after Shaw’s conversion.
Kyle Johnson scored a late try for Dungowan after a good Luke Howes run.
Norths might have been beaten but they were far from disappointed, said Bears coach Ken Allan.
“We were in the game for the first 20 to 30 minutes,” Allan said.
“I’m so proud of the boys. Full credit to Dungowan. They’ve been the benchmark all season.”
He said some fundamental mistakes plagued his side, in what was basically a “development year” for the side.
Dungowan coach Luke Taylor praised his side for its discipline “on and off the field”.
He didn’t want to single anyone out but thought Zell had a huge game in the middle.
Zell and fellow prop Aron Patterson were strong up front, with Altus and Clay Frendin providing great service from dummy half. Smith and fullback Mitch Bowen also starred.
Reid was outstanding for the Bears, along with lanky back-rower Jacob Ellis. Isaac Moxon, Ethan Pallot and Ryan potter also impressed.
DUNGOWAN 38 (Max Altus 2, Lockie Smith, Cody Byrne, Cooper Harris, Mitch Bowen, Kyle Johnson tries, Lockie Smith 5 goals) d NORTH TAMWORTH 10 (Hudson Shaw, Jock Ellis tries, Hudson Shaw goall)