Woodbridge Cup hangs on to beat New Era Cup after thrilling fightback

The chances of Dallas Booth owning a Ricky Martin album are pretty slim. He's probably never heard the FIFA anthem, Cup of Life, either.

But that didn't stop the New Era Cup captain-coach from channeling his inner Latino pop god when he declared there's a stack of life in Western's Cup representative concept after Saturday's clash with the Woodbridge boys on Saturday.

While it wasn't their night, Booth remained upbeat following the 24-16 loss to an impressive Woodbridge Cup side at Cargo Oval.

The hosts rallied early and shot out to a 20-0 lead at the break and then extended that advantage to 24 points seven minutes into the second stanza when Manildra's Kaleb Mullins crossed for a brilliant Woodbridge Cup try, red-headed backrower Regan Hughes setting up the four-pointer with one his trademark blazing runs.

Down but definitely not out, Booth's mid west boys showed immense fight and strung together three tries in 14 minutes to bring the score back to 24-16.

LET'S LIFT, BOYS: New Era Cup coach Dallas Booth addresses his side after Woodbridge Cup's third try. Photo: NICK McGRATH

LET'S LIFT, BOYS: New Era Cup coach Dallas Booth addresses his side after Woodbridge Cup's third try. Photo: NICK McGRATH

And they very nearly had another too after Booth put Ethen Parsons away but his pass to the supporting Ryan Bibby - who enjoyed a tremendous match in the New Era backrow - was grassed and the error halted the two blues' momentum.

Woodbridge Cup hung on from there but Booth was overjoyed at his side's resilience, adding an annual clash between the two cup competitions has a lot of merit.

"It wasn't a mismatch. This is worth playing," the Portland Colts captain-coach said.

"A lot of these boys won't get a chance to play at a higher level. It's something to aspire to. You don't have to be an absolute gun player to still play some rep footy.

"You get a rep jersey, meet new boys ... you build this up and some of these boys will go on to play first grade elsewhere.

"For us to come back, it showed it's worth having this game. It's not a waste of time."

Luke Wrigley starred for the Woodbridge Cup outfit, which was an under 23s side.

The Rhinos rake crossed for an early double to rocket the hosts out of the blocks and to a 10-0 lead after 25 minutes, both of his four-pointers on the back of incisive darts from acting-half.

Nearing the end of the half, Molong centre Kade Barrow put Condobolin livewire Dennis Spathis over in the corner and Canowindra's Frazer Ryder crossed just before the break to lift the maroon and golds to a commanding 20-point lead at oranges.

The lead was bumped up to 24 points thanks to Mullins' effort early in the second half but when Orange Barbarians' big-bopper Lionel Van der wal barged his way over in the 55th minute momentum swung mid west's way.

The pressure was on but I knew the boys would stick to it.

Man of the match, Woodbridge Cup rake Luke Wrigley.

Booth scored on the back of a great charge from Bibby while Michael Newman found his way over in the 69th minute, the left boot of Ed Morrish nailing both conversion attempts to bring the margin back to eight points.

But the deficit proved too much.

"The pressure was on but I knew the boys would stick to it," Wrigley said, the Manildra gun named man of the match.

"The boys did well in that first half and it made it easier for me to jump out and grab those short-range tries.

"We nearly had it," Booth added.

"We bombed two tries in the last five minutes as well and we score those and it's game on, but that's footy.

"We made it hard on ourselves in that first half but the more the game went on the more we go used to how each other played and it was chalk and cheese, the two halves."

Billy Dickinson was tremendous for the New Era Cup outfit, as was Bibby, the light-weight backrower proving more than a handful for the hosts.

While Brock Campbell and Hughes were almost impossible to stop every time they touched the ball for the victors.

  • WOODBRIDGE CUP 24 (Luke Wrigley 2, Dennis Spathis, Frazer Ryder, Kaleb Mullins tries; Kade Barrow, Jayden Fahey goals) def NEW ERA CUP 16 (Dallas Booth, Lionel Van der wal, Michael Newman tries; Ed Morrish 2 goals)