Panthers hungry for Rooster in title-clash

Minor premiers: The Candelo-Bemboka Panthers are looking forward to a grand final showdown with the Roosters on Sunday. Picture: Group 16.
Minor premiers: The Candelo-Bemboka Panthers are looking forward to a grand final showdown with the Roosters on Sunday. Picture: Group 16.

CBU face a tough task this weekend to secure the 2017 Group 16 reserve grade title when they take on arch-rivals Bega Roosters on their home turf in a battle that is sure not to disappoint.

Bega are on the better side of the ledger having come away with two victories from the three meetings this year, with each side getting the points at their respective home ground during the year, and Bega booking their spot in the big game with a narrow victory two weeks ago in Cooma.

“The fact it’s the Roosters doesn’t mean too much us, that’s more an off-field thing people use to build a game up,” team manager Matt Inskip says.  

“To us, it’s the grand final, it’s the game we’ve trained for all year and that’s all the motivation you should need to win.” 

“We are all mates off the field, in some cases work together, even the Taylor brothers, Bobby and Bevan, will be playing against each other.

He said the main goal was to hold the trophy aloft, but did say the rivalry would add some spice for spectators.

“Although I will say it’s a very fitting match up with the passing of Dave Wilton in recent weeks, he was a revered figure in both clubs so he’ll be a winner either way, but secretly his money would be on CBU I’d say,:” Inskip said.

The focus for the boys in Teal this week has been around taking their opportunities with the ball and tightening up their defensive structure, according to Coach Jake McDonald. 

“We are better for the extra game we have had with the finals loss against Bega, our defensive effort was very ordinary against Bega in Cooma,” McDonald said. 

“Perhaps the attitude wasn’t right, we didn’t give fullback Ben Tyler the respect he deserved and he made us pay with three tries, which ultimately proved the difference, but the extra game has allowed up to shore up those combinations.”

McDonald said the attack was too “straight-line” against the Roosters, but the club had shown more expansive footy against the Bulldogs last weekend and opted for better plays. 

Both Inskip and McDonald agreed it would be Bega fullback Ben Tyler topping the list of danger players, followed by captain Scott Barton out of dummy half. 

“He got out well and controlled their attack perfectly, no doubt he is a key,“ Inskip said.

“The Shepherdson brothers have caused us problems in our previous games, our edge and wide defenders will have to be switched on to combat them”. McDonald chimed in.

In their own ranks, the coach praised the kicking efforts of Bevan Taylor, while adding Jordan Finnerty could spark the team’s defensive efforts. 

“I also thought Jamie Glenn had his best game all year last week, he guided the team around exactly as you would expect from a player of his calibre,” Inskip added. “Also big Jory Taylor has been building all year, and this could be his day for something special.”

Both agreed the front row had been the strength of the Panthers this year in Trent Rollason, Brendan Kidd, Nathan Rosseland and Haywood Fraser. 

“They’re true footballers and a forward pack that won’t let you down,” McDonald said. 

“He’s left himself out, but you can add Jake in that mix,” Inskip chimes in, “they will lay the platform for our backs in Michael Motbey, Adam Blacka, Josh Cochrane and Nathan Moon.”

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