A GREAT day of rugby League in Bombala on Saturday saw the local derby between the combined Tasco Bluedogs and the Cooma Stallions.
Honours were shared on the cold day, with each club winning two grades.
A large crowd was on hand to see the Bluedogs win both First and Reserve grade, while Cooma won the Ladies League Tag and Under 18s.
In the First Grade encounter the Bluedogs were close to being back to full strength and played their best game for the season so far.
Cooma’s young backline were troubling the home side during the opening 15 minutes. Cooma were unlucky not to score when a high kick, into the in-goal, took a wicked bounce but was knocked on by a Cooma player.
Sustained field position did eventually see the Stallions post first points after 17 minutes.
The Bluedogs clicked into gear for the final 15 minutes of the half, first scoring two tries through the left centre, both involving some great support play, then a Clay Stewart try saw them go to the break leading 16 points to 4.
The second half began well for the Bluedogs, with Clay Clear scoring a try in the opening minutes.
The two teams then traded tries. First Cooma’s Mitch Lynch, then the Bluedog’s Mitch James and finally Jake Dietrich for Cooma, all posting four pointers.
With the score line at 26 to 16 the Stallions were looking to post a come-back.
Once again the Bluedogs stepped up a gear posting two more converted tries, to Blake Doyle and Paul Perkins, to totally wrap the match up, the final score being 38 points to 16.
This was a much improved performance from the Bluedogs featuring some great support play and huge improvement in their discipline.
The Bluedogs Reserve Grade recorded their first win for the season courtesy of an injection of new blood into the team.
Jim Coates led the team well and put in his usual, whole hearted performance, as did Blake Morrisey. Jim Mikula took advantage of playing behind a dominant forward pack, scoring one try and setting up two others.
Nathan Kabilu had a great game, proving difficult to stop each time he ran the ball. Matt Clift had a blinder, scoring three tries. Ryan Ingram also played well and is improving with each hit out.
The Bombala boys who helped out on the day were superb. It’s to be hoped that they will continue to play for the Bluedogs. Final score line in the Reserve Grade was 44 points to 24.
In the ladies League Tag game, the Hot Doggies came up against a red-hot Cooma team. This Cooma side are the in-form team in the competition and while the Hot Doggies didn’t bother the scorer, the Cooma girls ran in 46 points.
Cooma scored five tries during the first half to lead 28 to nil at half time. The Hot Doggies gained confidence as the game progressed. They restricted the scoring to three tries in the second half, keeping Cooma scoreless for the last 10 minutes.
The Bluedog Under 18s crashed back to earth with a lack–lustre display on Saturday. Cooma scored the opening three tries and the Bluedogs appeared shell-shocked. Once again the lack of discipline cost the team dearly with penalties gifting field position to the Stallions.
Jake Taylor scored the only try in the first half for the Doggies to go to the break down 16 points to 4.
Cooma scored two tries to open the second half and go to a 24 point lead. The Bluedogs’ defence was well below their usual high standard with plenty of ineffective tackling.
The Bluedogs did regather late in the match with tries to Tom Taylor and Jake Gordon. The final score was 28 points to 14 in Cooma’s favour.
Kieran Warnock was the standout for the Bluedogs.
Next weekend the Bluedogs will travel to Bega on Sunday for another crucial match. The teams are on equal points on the ladder, although Bega have a game in hand, so it will be a hard fought affair.