"We're killing ourselves."
(min cost $8)
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That was the clear message from Canowindra Tigers coach Cal Clyburn to his young side at the main break in Friday's clash with the Cowra Magpies at Sid Kallas Oval.
With scores locked at six all Clyburn was happy enough with his charges and tried to emphasise they could get the job done.
It wasn't to be however with Cowra grinding their way to a 14-6 win.
Billed as a local derby the match started with the intensity it deserved with both sides producing plenty of big hits.
The Magpies dominated possession in the first period but as has been the case many times this season the Canowindra Tigers were dominant in defence, steadfastly protecting their line.
They were rewarded for their defence in the second period with Will Cain crossing for an easy try, converted by Hayden Cummings.
Bob Jeffries hit back for Cowra, on the receiving end of a well timed pass from Josh Pokoney, to bring the score to 6-4.
In the final minutes of the half ill discipline again cost the Tigers who gave away a series of penalties to allow Leroy Murray to slot a penalty goal and bring scores level.
At the break put it simply to his players, "we're killing ourselves".
"Stupid stuff," he said of some of their play.
"We're winning this, why do you keep doing it," he said of the lopsided penalty count.
Aided again by penalties in the third period the Magpies stretched the lead to 8-6 after another Leroy Murray penalty kick.
Canowindra again kicked out on the full from the resumption finding themselves having to defend for long periods before losing their attacking strike weapon Pedro Tapim with a leg injury, sustained when he almost scored.
Despite the setbacks they held on to trail by just two with 15 minutes left before the Magpies sealed the win in the final period with a try to winger Jack Mulligan.
Happy with his side's performance despite the loss Clyburn said after the match he was pleased with their effort.
"We stuck it to them in the first two quarters," Clyburn said.
"Our goal line D in those first two quarters was awesome, we held them out probably for three sets in a row, penalty after penalty.
"In the end we screwed ourselves over with our discipline.
"But we're improving, getting better and better ever week, the boys are showing up and digging in, I'm proud of their efforts, we just got unlucky today."
Of the atmosphere and intensity of the clash Clyburn added: "it's a good grudge match".
"Even when we have trials against Cowra, it's always fiery, close town rivals, its awesome. They just got away from us in the end, we were so close," Clyburn said.
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