KOOTINGAL will need to shake off another tough Second Division finals loss if they want to earn another shot at Werris Creek after the Magpies caught them by surprise at home last week in the major semi-final.
The Roosters will now have to beat Boggabri, who are having their best season since returning three years ago, in a must-win elimination final at home this afternoon.
The Roos haven’t had a win over the Roosters for a few seasons, although nor had Werris Creek, who stung the Roosters 46-36 last week.
Boggy coach Dave Harris said the side was excited to be heading into a big game at full strength.
“We haven’t played Kooty at full strength all season,” Harris said.
“I went to watch Kooty and Creek last week and was a bit surprised by the game and result.”
Harris gave his side a well-earned break last week, rather than get them out to simulate a game on the weekend off like some clubs have been doing.
“We all spent a bit of time with family or just away from the game,” Harris said.
“It’s been good and we are excited to be playing finals footy again this week.”
Boggy impressed in the semi-final against Dungowan, a 15-minute window the only lapse in defensive concentration all game.
The Cowboys took full advantage of the lapse, running in quick tries to open a 16-point margin before the Roos ran them down in the back half on the back of a huge effort from his big men in the middle.
“We just put that down to nerves and take confidence in how we came back,” Harris said.
“We rolled our sleeves up and did what we do – play to our strengths through the middle and know that we have the boys out wide to score points.”
Halves Daniel Poss and Brad Hamilton have been directing the side through the finals both on and off the field.
With calm heads under pressure, the playmakers have the Roos relaxed but focused at training and held their nerve against Dungowan, playing with patience and trusting the Roos’ plan.
“They have been great for the young blokes in the side, especially our young backline,” Harris said.
Exciting fullback Jack Gilham will take his spot at the back and adds plenty to both attack and defence after leaving the semi-final early with a knock to the jaw.
The Roosters will be keen to shake off another finals loss after they have featured in plenty in recent years, but don’t have a great record.
Five-eighth Jordan Sharpe said the boys were disappointed in the way they played against Werris Creek and made the finals a lot harder than they should have been after only suffering one loss, in round one, this season.
“Boggy are going to be very tough,” Sharpe said.
“Our defence is going to have to be a lot better.”
Kootingal have already made the final in the league tag and will await the result of Walcha and Uralla this week.
The girls will start at 1pm, with the men to kick off at 2pm.