Candelo-Bemboka's chocolate pride in heritage round

THE heritage round for the Candelo-Bemboka Panthers couldn’t have gone better for the home side on Sunday. 

Donning replicas of the original “chocolate soldier” jerseys, the Panthers scored a handy win over the Cooma Stallions 30-10.

Panthers head coach Matt Inskip said he was delighted with the win and wanted to make home games a challenge for visiting teams. 

“It’s always good to get off on the right foot and try to build the home ground in to a bit of a fortress,” Inskip said. 

Despite a lopsided scoreline, Inskip said it was a difficult challenge to overcome the Stallions. 

“The scoreline probably doesn’t reflect how tough a game it was.

“We really had to tough it out.”

At half-time in the league-tag match the club held a ceremony to present the current players with the classic style jerseys. 

Premiership players and club members from the ‘70s were on hand to present the squad with the brown and white jerseys. 

As play got underway it was the Panthers posting the first points as Jamie Glenn crashed over the line. 

Ben O’Reilly joined in slipping past the defenders right by the posts for the Panthers to jump out to an early lead. 

During intense play both squads had some unfortunate errors and possession handovers. 

However, the defence of both teams stood tall and held out further points for nearly the entire half. 

The Stallions fought back with two late tries to get within four points by half-time. 

Inskip had earlier said the forward pack would be an even match, but the Panthers were missing some key front rowers on Saturday. 

However, Inskip said he was impressed with the performance of forwards coming off the bench. 

“We had John Dickson and Robbie Townsend out, so it’s good for the other guys to stand up and have a dig.

“David Inskip provided a big impact and it was good to have those guys coming off the bench and stand up for us,” he said. 

Bobby Taylor suffered a wrist injury just on half-time and will be in doubt for this week’s game. 

“He is a bit suspect for this weekend,” Inskip said. 

The second half was a level contest and the Stallions looked dangerous, but it was again the Panthers posting the points. 

Two late tries saw the Panthers take an unpassable lead at 24-10 with just a minute to go. 

However, a desperate play to post points by the Stallions saw an intercept and a try under the posts for the Panthers. 

Inskip said he was proud of the work from his squad. 

“I thought Wade Irvin was brilliant, he led the forwards.

“Jamie Glenn was brilliant, he got players’ player.

“They were both keen to have a dig at home.”

Inskip said after two straight wins he was proud of the team’s effort, but did not want to get complacent. 

“We just have to keep the momentum.

“Moruya will be a good test, they will be a bit of a benchmark.

“And Eden seem to be travelling well, those will be tough games,” he said. 

The Panthers now have a few injuries and key players Michael Edmunds and John Dickson have moved from the area. 

“Those guys will be a week-to-week prospect as to when they can get down and play,” Inskip said. 

However, Inskip said the Panthers have a solid bench and will use this week’s game as an opportunity for those players to run on. 

“It will be a chance for some of the bench players to make a run on spot and keep it really,” he said.  

After the game the jerseys were auctioned off at the Bemboka Hotel. 

Jamie Glenn said the auction was a great success. 

“The jumpers were hotly contested and many bidders were present,” Glenn said. 

“The average sale of the jumpers was $315.

“Number 13, purchased by Jim Eruera, went for the highest bid of $700,” he said. 

Glenn said local businesses dived on the bidding to frame the jerseys, while ex-players also went for the chance to buy their former numbers. 

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