RUGBY LEAGUE | Trangie goes down to Gilgandra
The final game of the weekend was played out at Trangie with the Magpies hosting the Gilgandra Panthers in a game that ebbed and flowed and provided a tense finish. The Maggies got away to a flyer scoring better than a point a minute to lead 16 points to nil after just 15 minutes and the Panthers looked as if they might be staring at a big defeat. However a combination of some errors and ill-discipline by the home side invited the visitors back into the game, an invitation that they readily accepted and rather incredibly it was to be Gilgandra that trooped off the field as half-time leaders with the scoreboard reading 22-20 in their favour. The Magpies were not going to go down without a fight and early in the second half one of their best on the day, fullback Paul Widders, sliced through some poor defence and they were back in front once more.
Unfortunately for the black and whites they again imploded and on the back of further ill-discipline by the home side the Panthers were again able to claw their way back into the lead eventually taking the entertaining and hard-fought match 32-26. Many at the ground viewed the game as the one that got away from Trangie and they had many an opportunity to register their first competition points for the year and probably would have done so had they not made a rod for their own backs on many occasions throughout the game. The Dunedoo Swans gave notice that they are the real deal in season 2014 when they completely dominated the visiting Coonamble Bears at Dunedoo last Saturday.
Their emphatic 44-16 win over the Bears, who were clear second on the ladder going into the match, would have tightened their already short odds as premiership favourites. Running in eight tries to three the win has lifted the Swans to a four-point lead on the ladder as they approach the half-way point of the home and away games as the only undefeated team in the competition. The loss by Coonamble and wins to both Gulgong and Coonabarabran means that the Bears now have a three-way share of second position on the competition table.
The Gulgong Terriers emerged from the Battle of the Dogs against the Warren Bulldogs at The Boneyard as narrow two-point victors, taking the highly entertaining game after they scored on the bell to lock the scores up before their half back, Brad James, slotted the conversion to give them a 26-24 win away from home.
James was one of the Terriers best along with front rower Nathyn Martin and second rower Daniel Dunk, whilst for Warren their half, Anthony Fuller, continued his good recent form with another top notch display along with his five-eight Thomas Wilson and hardworking front rower Rob Walker.
Meanwhile at Coolah the Coonabarabran Unicorns big win over the Kangaroos came at a heavy cost with a serious leg injury to star centre Jarvis Watton threatening to end his season and having another player set to face the judiciary during the week after being sent from the field on a punching charge just prior to half-time.
The Unicorns went on to win the game 52-10 but the fallout from the game could present the club with some challenges in the coming weeks.
Billy Dunn Oval at Gulgong will host the match of the round this Saturday when the Terriers will be looking to elevate themselves above the visiting Unicorns on the ladder. The injury to Watton will necessitate a reshuffle of the Coonabarabran backline but they have a number of talented players to fill the void and it should be good viewing with both teams liking to throw the ball around.
The Boronia Cup Challenge game at Coonamble between the Bears and Gilgandra could well have a major influence as to where the teams will finish in the final pecking order and with little love lost between the two clubs on the field a hard-fought match is anticipated.
Although the published draw would indicate otherwise, Coolah will travel to Warren, due to a ground clash at Coolah and Trangie will have their hands full when they welcome the high-flying Swans to Trangie for the Battle of The Birds.
Gilgandra 32 (Luke Ritchie, Kasey Towney, Shaun Reynolds, AJ Young tries, Brandon Hammond 3, Andrew Hammond 2, Ritchie goals) defeated Trangie 26 (Paul Widders 2, Blake McIntosh, Mikaira Skinner, Nathan Toole tries, Ethan Sheedy 3 goals)
Dunedoo 12, Coonabarabran 8, Gulgong 8, Coonamble 8, Gilgandra 5, Warren 5, Coolah 2, Trangie 0
Next week Warren V Coolah (note change of venue to published draw)
Coonamble V Gilgandra, Gulgong V Coonabarabran, Trangie V Dunedoo