COACH Paul Hennock praised the depth in his club after an under-strength Dubbo Kangaroos defeated Orange Emus 20-16 in their Blowes Clothing Cup match at No. 1 Oval on Saturday.
With Peter Nau, Filisione Pauta and Scott Burgess all on Country Cockatoos duty, Hennock was forced to call up players from lower grades and the coach admitted his delight at seeing them stand up in the wet and windy conditions.
“Today is about the club,” Hennock said.
“So many guys coming up from seconds and to get away with that one, we had a guy in the bin for 10 minutes too, it makes it better.”
For Emus captain Nigel Staniforth it was a case of his side not capitalising on their opportunities with some impressive attacking raids followed by a host of errors.
“Just our execution and little mistakes, when we had the ball we shifted it too quickly and then obviously turned it over again rather than holding onto it in these conditions,” Staniforth said.
The Emus started brightly and crossed the line early only for it to be ruled out for a knock on before Dubbo worked their way into the match and scored out wide through young winger Matt Gersbach.
While James Mata missed the conversion the Roos kept attacking and were rewarded when powerful centre Max Ma’a Nelson found some space on the wing to make it 10-0 before penalties from Emus’ Sam Ryan and Mata had the half-time score at 13-3.
Emus’ Tim Allison scored a try early in the second stanza before Roos’ prop Enoch To’Ofohe was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge and the visitors capitalised with Carter Hirini crossing to lock the scores up at 13-all.
Roos flyhalf Ted Bates then broke through the defence from 22 metres out and had enough strength to get across the line and put the home side in front and, despite Ryan kicking another penalty, Dubbo hung on for their fourth consecutive win.
“It was very different conditions, bit wet today and we made little errors around the breakdown but that’s a bit of rust from the new guys there,” Hennock said.
Staniforth said there’s a good feeling within the Emus squad despite Saturday’s loss.
“A few new players this year has helped but we had three players out today and Dubbo were the same but we were still pretty competitive and we want to be up the top,” Staniforth said.
DUBBO KANGAROOS 20 (Matt Gersbach, Max Ma’a Nelson, Ted Bates tries; James Mata conv, pen goal) def ORANGE EMUS 16 (Tim Allison, Carter Hirini tries; Sam Ryan 2 pen goals)