THE Bega Roosters overcame a tough Eden Tigers outfit to advance to the preliminary final of the Group 16 rugby league competition with a 34-10 victory in the elimination semi-final.
Bega is now just two games away from the elusive grand final stage.
And Sunday’s win was the first step on the tightrope Bega will walk towards its end of season path.
Roosters co-captain coach Ryan Apps was happy with his side’s performance.
However, he knows the Roosters still have to come up with more control of the ball if they are to continue their finals march.
Bega got off to a flying start when Craig Matthews stole the ball one-on-one from the Tigers deep in Eden territory.
This enabled the Roosters to swing into attack with Adam Lucas picking up a hard-running Hayden Parbery who cut through the Tigers defence to open the scoring.
Scott Hay’s conversion attempt bounded off the uprights for the Roosters to lead 4-0.
This was quickly followed up from the restart of play when Lachlan Sund kicked ahead, which the Tigers’ defenders were unable to control.
It resulted in Craig Dunham showing his ability to swoop on the ball and touch down next to the posts.
Hay’s extras had the Roosters supporters in fine voice at 10-0.
The Roosters were keeping the Tigers pinned in their own half.
The red-and-whites were looking for inspiration and it came in the shape of a cracking backline movement that saw Tony Banks dive over to put the Tigers back in the contest 10-4.
The game was evenly poised, but the Roosters struck again in the shadows of the half-time siren.
Dunham streaked down the touch line but was just caught by a desperate tigers cover.
Scott Fuller swept the attack forward and picked up a barnstorming Dayne Burton, who steamed straight and hard and plunged over next to the posts.
Hay’s extras sent the Roosters into the break 16-4 and they were looking the goods.
It was a case of who scored next and for the tri-colours it was Lachlan Sund who combined with Grant Jessop to take play deep into Tigers’ zone.
Scott Fuller made no mistake when he ran a strong line to cross and Hay’s extras had the Roosters supporters crowing at 22-4.
Ryan Apps then stamped himself on the match after a great run that led to Scott Ingram racing over to score 28-4.
And the Roosters stocks soared when Eden Tigers prop Dan McKean was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
Bega’s pack then combined with Burton offloading to Sund who picked up Jarrod Tamatea.
The stocky prop steamed into open space and found his hooker Jessop in support.
It was game over with Jessop scoring and Hay raising the flags 34-4.
The Eden side refused to give in and fought their way back into the contest.
Halfback Thomas Henderson and pivot Matt Creswick were pulling out all stops to get the Tigers back into the game.
And it was Henderson finally breaching the Roosters’ line with a well-placed cross field kick that Connor Myers plucked from the air and touched down.
Cresswick posted the extras 34-10.
For the winners Dayne Burton led the forward pack well while Scott Fuller at lock was a standout.
Sund and Jessop were prominent and on the flanks Dunham and rangy back-rower Shaun Bell had strong games.
Todd Ingram continues to impress.
For the Tigers it’s the end of the road for 2013, while Bega stay alive and will travel to Cooma in a fortnight’s time to play the loser of the big Moruya-Cooma clash at Moruya next weekend.