A STELLAR defensive effort and astute wet-weather tactics in the Endeavour Oval bog earned Dubbo Roos a Blowes Clothing Cup second grade premiership on Saturday.
Trailing Orange Emus 14-5 midway through the first half, Roos found their groove courtesy of a regime of one-out hit-ups and pinpoint kicks to bridge the gap before tackling themselves to a standstill in the closing stages to secure the silverware.
Their comeback started with a pair of Anthony Golding penalty goals in the shadows of half time which reduced the deficit to three points.
Soon after the resumption Roos front rower Jock Rodgers crashed over from close range to hand his side a 16-14 advantage.
A Matt Findlay penalty goal minutes later momentarily put the home side in front again, but when Roos replacement Michael Hill crossed with 15 minutes left the visitors were in the box seat.
They held on, thanks to a lion-hearted defensive performance in the closing stages.
Roos coach Rob Bond was delighted with his troops’ spirited display.
“It was tough – a tough game and a tough day for footy – but they never gave in,” Bond said.
“Emus are a quality side and they really made us earn it.”
They certainly did, with Emus overcoming a horror start to have the better of the opening exchanges.
It was Roos who scored first, Golding crashing over out wide. Even though just ten minutes had passed the try seemed a long time coming as a series of Emus errors gifted Roos sustained possession and field position.
But Emus – riding a wave of four consecutive penalties – slowly righted the ship and began to assert themselves.
Their improved ball control translated to points after 18 minutes when hooker Keith Howarth burrowed over the line, Findlay adding the extras from out wide.
Ten minutes later Emus extended their lead, fullback James Simmons outpacing the Roos cover defence before passing to winger Derek Thompson, who stepped inside two more would-be tacklers to cap the 50-metre movement.
Findlay was once again on target and, at 14-5, Emus had the chance to kick clear. Roos had other ideas.
Emus coach Steve Levett paid tribute to the winners while lamenting the heavy track.
“Roos are the benchmark side and they deserve the premiership,” Levett said.
“We wanted a dry field because our backs are pretty slick but it wasn’t to be.
“It was still a great year by my guys. I couldn’t be more proud.”