In two weeks of the Group 10 competition the Cowra Magpies have shown glimpses of their best form and quite possibly their worst.
Cowra was their own worst enemy at Sid Kallas Oval on Sunday afternoon, struggling to string sets together and capitilse on chances they created, while Orange Hawks flew under the radar maintaining a lead from the 22nd minute on their way to a 28-18 round two win.
Errors were aplenty when the Magpies had the ball and they were no where near as threatening as they were in last week’s opening round 38-6 win over Oberon.
Hawks completed and got to their kicks and sealed the win with a late try to fullback Jake Blinka.
It was a step in the right direction for Hawks captain Willie Heta, who was mostly impressed with his side’s attitude after last week allowing Bathurst Panthers to salvage a 30-all draw.
“We had a better attitude after playing ourselves out of the game last week. To see the positive attitude this week is a very positive stepping stone for us,” Willie Heta said.
“We have a tough run to start the year so to get two points away is a pretty special effort. It’s a good turn around.”
Heta placed the kick for one of Jordan Baker’s two first half tries as Hawks took a 12-10 lead into the break, Magpies centres Lee McClintock and Bradyn Cassidy registering tries for the hosts.
The two sides swapped tries in the second half and it was Hawks halfback Brodie Christopherson who posted the first points after selling Cowra’s defence a dummy and Heta converted for an eight point lead.
Cowra hit back in the 60th minute through winger Zac Browne but Bugg’s conversion blew across the face of goal.
Hawks responded with centre Jack Aumuller charging onto a nice short ball from Rakai Tuheke extending the lead back to eight points.
Cowra worked their way into the match again with a try through captain Josh Rainbow but Bugg missed the extras and the margin remained four points.
Inside the final two minutes, and with Hawks lock Nathan Potts in the sin-bin, Tuheke created space through the middle and found Blinka in support who went in under the posts gifting Heta an easy two points and a chance to run the clock down.
The result marked Hawks first win of the season.
Cowra coach Steve Sutton was prepared to let his side off the hook having thumped Oberon the week before and it only being the second round of the season.
“I’m not that concerned. You’re going to win one and lose one early in the year. How we perform next week [against Orange CYMS] is the big question if we put in a good performance this will be forgotten but another performance like this and there’ll be some questions that need answering,” Sutton said.
“If you drop the ball you can’t win. We turned it over too much we gave up too much cheap possession and when we did have it we didn’t do much with it.”
In a losing side Blake Tidswell was a standout for Cowra while Hawks’ big men Ethan McKellar and Sam Coyte were strong all day.
Orange Hawks 28 (Jordan Baker 2, Brodie Christopherson, Jack Aumuller, Jake Blinka tries; Willie Heta 4 goals) bt Cowra Magpies 18 (Lee McClintock, Bradyn Cassidy, Zac Browne, Josh Rainbow tries; Joey Bugg goal)