Cowra has won its first premiership of the 2018 season at Sid Kallas Oval on Saturday, the black and white faithful will be hoping next Sunday is just as fruitful.
The Magpies under 14s saluted in front of their home fans at Cowra, man of the match Isaac Petty producing a herculean effort in the front-row to help lift the swoopers 12-6 over rivals Bathurst Panthers.
Virtually nothing has separated the two sides all season, Cowra winning both encounters by six and two points.
And it looked like the two sides would play out their closest clash of the season in the 2018 decider, too, when converted tries to Kane Wiggins and Harry Thauxe locked Panthers and Cowra at 6-all for the bulk of the game.
The score remained that way until the Magpies won a scrum 10 metres out from Panthers’ line and Jacob Haeata was strong enough to barge his way over from close range to score as time crept inside the final five minutes of the grand final.
U14s | This group of Magpies' first premiership, and they did it at home in front of a heap of Cowra senior players who'll play here at Sid Kallas next weekend.— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) September 1, 2018
Sing it loud, Magpies.#Cowra#Juniors#Group10#Group10JRL@WesternRamspic.twitter.com/iPYEjcFQlE
Tom Negus’ second goal of the match made it a six-point buffer, one the Magpies managed to hold on to late despite Panthers throwing everything at the black and whites.
“It’s amazing,” Cowra coach Ken McNarama said just after full-time.
This Magpies team lost the 2017 under 13s decider, making Saturday’s victory the group’s first premiership triumph.
The fact it was on home soil made it all the more sweet and kicks off what could be a huge week for the club, with the Magpies hosting the Group 10 seniors grand final on Sunday, September 9.
The club’s first grade boys have the chance to emulate the feats of their junior clubmates, and the bulk of Steve Sutton’s side was on hand to enjoy the celebrations.
“Not many junior footy clubs get to win on a local ground. It’s pretty special,” McNamara continued.
“The Panthers’ defensive line was incredible at getting off their line. We didn’t have any room to move. We had to hang in there and get as far down the field as possible.
“But in the second half, we got down there end once and we were able to score, that was the difference.”
Negus and Haeata were terrific for the hosts, while Petty’s battle with Panthers enforcer Tallis Tobin was a highlight of the nail-biting grand final.
McNamara lauded his entire side but said having the likes of Petty on deck made the 2018 Magpies a formidable outfit.
“Physical and fast, and that’s what you need. If you’ve got a couple of kids like that it helps,” he said.
Panthers coach Mick Carter couldn’t fault the effort of his outfit.
“Cowra had a great game and deserved to win,” he said.
“Bad luck boys, heads up, we’ll come back next year and thanks to all the Panthers supporters for coming over and supporting us.”
- COWRA MAGPIES 12 (Harry Thauxe, Jacob Haeata tries; Tom Negus 2 goals) def BATHURST PANTHERS 6 (Kane Wiggins try; Jesse Limon goal)