A mammoth second-half effort from the Cowra Magpies under 13s side in Saturday’s preliminary final has secured them a spot in the Group 10 decider.
The Magpies piled on 10 unanswered points in the second-half at Sid Kallas Oval, registering a 20-12 win against Bathurst Panthers to book their ticket to the grand final this week.
Coach Ken McNamara, whose son Mikey plays halfback, was relieved with the result.
“I’m very excited for the boys because they probably deserve to be in the final. So pretty pleased that they’ve got through to the grand final and have a chance to win it,” Ken said.
Cowra opened the scoring through lock Tom Negus who split Panthers’ line and went 40m to score.
The conversion attempt missed and Panthers responded with a try to second-rower Tallis Tobin before taking the lead with a goal to Jesse Limon.
Cowra’s Jacob Haeata scored next followed by a second to Panthers through five-eight Cooper Brien and Panthers led 12-10 at halftime.
Ken McNamara said the message was “hang in there”.
“The only time we let them down our end was either off a drop ball from a kick or we gave a penalty away on the fourth or fifth and that cost us in the first half. If we didn’t allow them to do that it obviously reduces there chances of scoring,” Ken said.
On the back of some bruising, tight defence, the Magpies built pressure and crossed twice during the second period to lead 20-12.
Haeata grabbed a second try and Harry Thauax scored an 80m try to seal the win.
“Our defence was the best thing. Especially in the second-half when it was a bit tight.
“We’ve been trying to get our defence right but we have lapses and today for that second-half it was brilliant because everyone stepped up and there was a little bit more urgency which is good to see,” Ken said.
“There was a few boys carrying injuries. There were a few shedding blood it was a good all-round performance.”
Cowra takes on Orange Bloomfield in the decider this week.
The two sides have gone head-to-head on four occasions this year, with both winning games each.
“We’ve played them four times during the year and had two wins. So we’ll see how things go.” The side trained from 4.30pm on Tuesday as preparations ramp up. They take on Bloomfield from 12pmon Saturday.
Cowra Magpies 20 (Jacob Haeata 2, Tom Negus, Harry Thauax tries; Leroy Murray two conversions) defeated Bathurst Panthers 12 (Tallis Tobin, Cooper Brien tries; Jesse Limon two conversions).