Pressure has been piled on the Cowra Magpies with seven rounds of the Group 10 season remaining, following Sunday’s loss against the Oberon Tigers.
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Their task of making this year’s finals has been made a whole more difficult as a result of the 32-6 loss, with only one home game remaining and a string of five on the road to finish the regular season.
Focus turns to must-win second round fixtures against Blayney, Lithgow, Bathurst St Pat’s and Orange Hawks.
“We started our year with two losses and ended the first round finals bound. Now we’re going to have to be stronger in the games we won last round,” Cowra coach Rory Brien said.
“If we win those same games as round one we might sneak in the finals. I’d like to win some of the harder games against CYMS and Panthers to really show them we’re a team to look out for because we are.”
Despite opening the scoring against Oberon inside the opening three minutes at Sid Kallas Oval, the Magpies conceded six unanswered tries to ultimately lose 32-6.
Tigers’ barnstorming centre Abel Lefaoseu scored on both sides of the break and caused massive headaches for Cowra’s left edge while five-eight Anton Wereta was labelled man of the match by his coach Luke Branighan, who went on to describe the performance as one of his sides best.
“I thought it was one of our best performances of the year,” injured captain-coach Luke Branighan said.
“I was really pleased with how the boys toughed it out. That’s what we’re trying to get here at the club. Consistency and effort for each other.”
Oberon unveiled mid-season signing Matt Wakefield in their forward pack, who Branighan says is one of the “better forwards in bush footy.”
The pair played together for Group Nine club Young Cherrypickers back in 2015.
“It’s a massive signing. He’s one of the better forwards in bush footy. That’ll tighten us up in the middle and toughen us up,” Branighan said.
Wakefield’s inclusion, and wealth of experience, comes at a good time for the Tigers with Branighan revealing he’ll probably be sidelined for a further five to six weeks having fractured his left thumb and displaced the bone from its joint.
Rory Brien said the Magpies failed to recover after Oberon took the lead mid-way through the opening 40 minutes.
“It’s a hard one to swallow. The first 20 minutes was brilliant. We were in the grind,” Brien said.
“Too their credit they were very good down the centre. They were rolling the ruck and getting 80 metres sets. We struggled to get out of our half at times.”
Oberon meets Lithgow this weekend, while for the Magpies this week’s match against Blayney looms as vital.
Oberon Tigers 32 (Abel Lefaoseu 2, Mike Ingwersen, Tyler Hughes, Dave Sellers, Matt Ballinger tries; Anton Wereta four conversions) defeated Cowra Magpies 6 (Toby Nobes try; Cameron Breust conversion).
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