Eagles to take on the Emus after comprehensive semi-final win against Forbes


It's something that a lot of sports teams aim for, and fail to achieve, often confusing it for poor discipline and playing the opposition rather than the ball at hand.

But for 80 minutes on Sunday in their Blowes Clothing Cup minor semi-final, Cowra delivered on what co-coaches Col Jeffs and Col Kilby demanded and then some, winning 37-13 in a timely return to form against the Forbes Platypi.

In the process, they sealed a trip to Endeavour Oval next weekend to take on the Orange Emus and go one step to closer to a potential grand final berth.

"Our motto for today was: Be ruthless," Jeffs explained.

"In the past... when physicality's come into games, we sort of haven't been on that front foot, we've just absorbed it.

"Collectively as a group... when the physicality comes on, we're actually adapting and taking it back to the opposition... that's what we need to do."

However, while the ruthlessness has come at a good time, Jeffs is under no illusions that they will need to find another gear ahead of a barely beaten Orange Emus who will likely still be smarting after yesterday's contest in Bathurst.

"We will need to improve on today to get the result next week," Jeffs said.

"I still rate them as the top side... They're experienced right across the park, and they've been there, they're big game players.

"They'll treat next Saturday as a grand final with us."

Both the Emus and Eagles leave this weekend with availability issues to key players.

While the Emus will be waiting nervously to see the outcome of Nigel Staniforth's knee injury, the Eagles will also face a nervous wait with the judiciary this week after veteran Chris Miller was red-carded late alongside Forbes number nine Mahe Fangupo.

While both cards were a product of Forbes' frustrations, with tensions between the teams threatening to boil over as the game reached its final moments, it'll be an issue that the Eagles' faithful will want resolved favourably at Wednesday's judiciary.

Besides that though, a slightly lacklustre start was the only other quibble for the Eagles in a reminder to the competition of what their best football looks like, with the near full-strength side ruthless in capitalising on Forbes' errors throughout the match.

While Forbes converted a couple of penalty goals early to take a 6-0 lead, they only put up a single try for the remainder of the game, with Jarrad Hall's effort in the 57" minute mild relief amidst Cowra's second half onslaught.

For the Eagles' part, it was difficult to pick a player for best afield such was their dominance, with the returning Troy Jeffs, Miller, Viliuesa Koilagi and Garrizo Gonzalo all showing moments of individual brilliance, while Jeffs specifically cited a late Bill Cummins tackle as an inspirational effort.

Forbes captain-coach Jack Hammond didn't mince his words assessing the performance, acknowledging his side was done in by a team that out-performed them for nearly the entirety of the day.

"Cowra well and truly deserved it, they were the better side right from the kick-off," Hammond said.

"From one to 15, they showed their strength, and they showed they played as a team. Today, we just didn't follow our patterns and our structures and it really showed."

Hammond admitted it was a difficult day for his team, with opportunities few and far between early.

"I think early on we didn't have much of the ball, we were defending a lot and we missed a lot of one-on-one tackles; I think that showed us either our confidence or our timing just wasn't there.

"I think it's just a flow-on effect from there, so that when we did have the ball we were a bit slow, a bit sluggish and didn't really have that zip that we needed."

Nevertheless, given their late season run of form to get to the finals in the first place, Hammond was proud of his group, even if their efforts didn't translate on the field on Sunday.

"To be where we are now from where we were in the middle of the season or the comp is a massive effort for the boys," the number 13 said.

"We can definitely take that into next year, to say, 'Look what we can do when we turn around. If we start well, we can really mix it with the big clubs.'"

  • COWRA EAGLES 37 (Viliuesa Koilagi 2, Damian Michael, Elliot Brice, Garrizo Gonzalo tries; Garrizo Gonzalo 3 conversions; Gonzalo 2 penalty goals) def FORBES PLATYPI 13 (Jarrod Hall try; Angus King conversion; King 2 penalty goals).