Cowra Magpies fire warning shot to Group 10 in dominant St Pat's win

A relentless Cowra Magpies unleashed a dominant performance against Bathurst St Pat's at Sid Kallas Oval, winning by 30 points in a game where the Saints barely got a look in until the match's late stages.

The win puts Cowra at a level pegging with the Saints in Group 10, after the latter had the bye last week, while sitting just a game behind the Orange Hawks, who beat the Magpies earlier in the year.

The home side didn't take long to make their mark on the game, with Braydn Cassidy putting the first try of the game down after the opening five minutes, and at half-time, if not for a couple of early and difficult missed conversions from Caley Mok, Cowra would've been more than 20-4 up on their opposition.

Things only got worse for the Saints after half time, with Cowra putting on three tries in the first 15 minutes to have their foot on St Pat's throat, with the score blowing out to 38-4 thanks to tries from Mok, Zach Browne and another to Cassidy.

Second rower's Ben Gunn's tackling was particularly strong, while Joey Bugg and Claude Gordon continued to compliment one another from the halves.

Mok also found his range, nailing some difficult conversions in the second half to ensure the scoreline reflected the Magpies' general dominance.

St Pat's did well to fight out the game after a head knock sent Gordon off for the Magpies, with second-half tries to Jack Mackey and Bailey Waldron consolation for the all-day efforts of the likes of lock forward Mick Hawkings, albeit when the heat had gone out of the contest.

Saints Assitant Coach Daniel Finn revealed after the game that captain-coach Luke Branighan had caught a niggle during the match as well, but was cagey at providing further detail, trying to play it down.


"We'll sort that out during the week," Finn said, adding that Cowra just out-worked the Saints in several key areas.

"Cowra ran harder, tackled harder. It was a very basic game and they did the basics well."

Magpies coach Kurt Hancock coached the Saints to a premiership against Cowra in 2014, and Finn said he wasn't surprised at the moves Hancock pulled.

"We know how he coaches, and he went out with a plan," Finn said.

"To his credit, the Cowra boys stuck to his plan and he knew where to exploit us."

Hancock himself also noted that while there was a clear plan in place, there were a growing sense of trust between, himself, the players and between the players themselves

"To build that trust, not only between the player and the coach... but also, the team is starting to trust each other," the coach, who also mentored the Under 18s Western Rams side this year, said.

"I thought our communication, right until the end, was outstanding."

The coach was also pleased with his combinations, with an injury to Jeremy Gordon and Josh Rainbow's retirement meaning that the team has had to adjust on the fly early in the year.

"Now it's starting to settle down a bit, and we're getting guys back and everybody's starting to get a bit fit and healthy," he said.

"I had a feel on Friday, when I left training here [at Sid Kallas], that we were going to play pretty good... we've sort of been building to that the last couple of weeks."

  • COWRA MAGPIES 44 (Tries: Braydn Cassidy 2, Zach Browne 2, Lee McClintock, Joey Bugg, Caley Mok, Will Ingram. Goals: Mok 6) def BATHURST ST PATS 14 (Tries: Mitch Squire, Jack Mackey, Bailey Waldron. Goal: Traie Merritt)