There is something about country rugby league that has a different feel than suburban grounds. The Dayboro Cowboys nestled amongst the paddocks and surrounding farms never seems to get old to watch a game of footy.
The Dayboro Cowboys, still riding high from their Ted Beaumont Trophy win, corralled a spirited Brothers Juniors 28-12 in a good old-fashioned gun fight to remain top of the table in the Northside 1 competition.
Brothers, languishing in last place, did not look like a side who have only won one game all season. The Fighting Irish lived up to their nickname in a match that was noted for its rock-solid defence.
The Cowboys in red hot form, however, were first to score with front-rower Aaron King barging on to a short pass from halfback Justin Tyson to go in under the sticks.
Brothers defence frustrates
Within four minutes the Cowboys had struck another blow to the Leprechauns with replacement forward Vili Taungatua charging on to a pass to plunge over the tryline. Kane Zalewski added the extras to see the Cowboys off to an early lead at 12-0.
With the early onslaught from Dayboro, you could be forgiven for thinking that this game was going to rack up the points but Brothers defence was superb in the middle, frustrating the home side in patches.
The Cowboys were guilty of not respecting possession and continued to hand the visitor’s ample opportunities to go inside the Cowboys’ red zone. After repeat sets of six, the Cowboys finally crumbled under pressure to see Brothers replacement player Nathan Slade step inside the defence to score beside the sticks right on the halftime hooter.
Crowd rouse Cowboys
To this stage, Brothers were giving the Cowboys one hell of a fight. Hooker Ben Munro, fullback Silas Harris and second-rower Sean Hams proved to be the visitor’s key men.
However, with the country folk getting behind the home side, it took Cowboys stalwarts Steven Harris, Kane Zalewski and fullback Jack White to up the tempo.
Zalewski and White are a class above. The Cowboys pair continually set the benchmark each week in this division to be on the cusp of representative duties in the future.
The Cowboys third try did come from some Jack White magic. The elusive fullback stepped four defenders and pinned the ears back to set up a superb pass to find his winger Jeremiah Alimpolus in waiting to crash over in the corner.
Zalewski landed a magnificent sideline conversion to see the home side riding high into the fading sunset at 18-6.
The lead would increase once again for the Cowboys this time through forward Daniel Harris. The workaholic second-rower fully deserved his name on the scoresheet with a determined run to see the popular player go in to score.
Hold the line
Brothers, still not throwing in the towel, nearly scored back-to-back tries on the back of some good field position only to be outdone by the hard-line Cowboys defence that was proving to be indestructible.
But the Cowboys are not top of the ladder for nothing. Zalewski’s vision to find hooker Adam Harris in support made the scoreline 28-6 as the home side were coming home strong late in proceedings.
That, however, didn’t bother the Leprechauns as their forward pack were still hammering into the Cowboys defence, putting their bodies on the line.
Front-rower Jeziah Tillett was continually making good metres up the middle and his damaging runs nearly saw the visitors go in again only to be cut short inches from the Cowboys tryline.
Last word to Brethren
Amazingly though, the Brothers fullback found enough petrol in the tank to cross for a superb try to see the Leprechauns get the final say of the day.
A tired but relieved Zalewski summed up the match saying that it was a scrappy affair but one the Cowboys needed to stay on top. “The boys were a bit tired playing two games within a week but we held on for the win.
“We weren’t on our game today, but we’ll be back better next week,” he said.
Hats off to country rugby league, always producing a fine spectacle for the fans.
Final score: Dayboro Cowboys 28 def Brothers Juniors 12.