AFTER an unfortunate loss for the Chinchilla River Rats in C Grade (9-29 against an undefeated Goondiwindi side) on Saturday, the Condamine Cods' B Grade took to the field at the Fish Tank hopeful to turn the tide.
It was always going to be a tough task with Goondiwindi side third on the ladder, but it was one that Coach Chub's boys tackled with enthusiasm, focus and determination.
It was a welcome return to the Fish Tank for Condamine's Angus Smith. Until very recently Smith had been playing cricket in England. He caught the red eye into Brisbane Friday night and, after a quick nap, made the journey out to Condamine to pull on the green and white.
They say fortune favours the brave and so it was on Saturday when Smith crossed over for Condamine's first try against the Emus to put the home side in front with an early lead 5-0. Some excellent play in the centres by Kim McGregor and Dominic Power saw Nick Boshammer end up with the ball on the wing, culminating in an unconverted try to extend the Cods' lead to 10-0.
Late in the second half a Cods' line-out close to the Goondiwindi line developed into a classic Condamine maul with the mess of bodies surging ever closer to the try line until McGregor lunged forward in a breakout run flying over the line to nab the Cods' third try of the first half, edging the Cods out to 15-0. The Emus managed a counter attack just before half-time with an unconverted try to give a 15-5 scoreline at the break.
The Emus came out strong in the second half and after wrestling against the Cods' strong defence they made a break through in the 60th minute with a converted try reducing the margin to 15-12. Still the Cods had another gear and they kicked it up a notch with a second try to McGregor (20-12), who only then left the field to prepare for the upcoming A Grade game.
The visitors mounted a spirited attack but the home side had their number with the Cods' back line impenetrable, led by halfback Rusty Jorgensen who tackled like a demon throughout the game. The nail in the Emu's coffin was slammed home by Noel Barker with the final try converted by Smith in a nice bookend to the game. The full time score was 27-12; a convincing and very well deserved win for the Cods.
The Cods' A Grade side took to the field with the same focus and determination seen in their B Grade counterparts; they were going on an Emu hunt and they were going to catch a big one.
The first try came off a Cods' line out, the second a culmination of textbook running rugby across the field from sideline to sideline and the third off a maul close to the Emu's line. The Cods dominated possession in the first half and were determined in defence, allowing just one try through to give a 15-7 scoreline at the break.
The second half saw Brendan Sexton score an excellent driving try off a line out play with a successful conversion by Archie Attwooll putting the Cods in front 22-7.
The Cods lost focus, took the foot off the accelerator and started turning the ball over, tipping the possession into Goondiwindi's favour. The Emus capitalised, running in two converted tries to tighten the game up considerably to 22-21. After a very nervous wait the referee finally blew the whistle, mercifully sealing the deal.
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