Justin Toomey-White went a long way to carrying his Wellington Cowboys to the Group 11 major semi-final on Sunday, but the powerhouse back-rower hailed his team’s unity and work ethic after downing Parkes.
Toomey-White scored two tries and was heavily involved in almost everything good his side did during the 24-point win over the Spacemen.
However, there was plenty of tough performances across the park as the Cowboys battled against the sin-binnings of both AJ Davis and EJ Fernando at different times.
The side also lost starting prop Ben McGregor to a calf injury in the warm-up, while Jaden Chatfield exited the game inside two minutes with an ankle injury and didn’t return.
As well as that, three under 18s players backed up from their win over Parkes and Daniel Ah-See and Rian Humphries featured after play key roles in the Cowboys’ reserve grade victory over Macquarie.
Toomey-White hailed the character shown by his side during the convincing win, one which sets up a major semi-final date with Dubbo CYMS, the unbeaten minor premiers.
“I can’t do what I do without the boys moving forward,” Toomey-White said after the 34-10 win, stating he does take it upon himself to lift his side at times.
“There’s no ‘I’ in team and we’ve got some real individual brilliance in some players, CJ Ralph was one today, and I do at times but we’ve got 16 other blokes there who work just as hard.”
Ralph scored a double in the win, the second a stellar effort where he bounced back up 40m from the line after an incomplete tackle and beating a couple of other defenders on his way to the line.
Toomey-White also landed two tries and set up his side’s first four-pointer in the third minute when getting an off-load away on the fifth tackle and putting Nathan Ryan over.
Late in the half the captain ran it on the last again, carrying three Spacemen across the line to put his side back in front.
The Cowboys led for the rest of the game and, in fact, the Spacemen didn’t score a point after getting out to a 10-4 lead after 13 minutes.
Toomey-White set the tone in the second half, breaking a tackle on his own 40m line before fending off a couple of other Spacemen and sprinting to the line in another highlight-worthy four-pointer
54 | TRY! Did he get to the line?? Controversy. Parkes filthy but try to Wellington’s Wallace Bruce is awarded. Man down but Cowboys still dominating. Forwards are outstanding today. Lead now 32-10. Long way back for Parkes. #Group11pic.twitter.com/UAmVMkZAgn— Nick Guthrie (@Nj_Guthrie) August 19, 2018
There was no coming back for Parkes after that and Spacemen now face an in-form Forbes in next weekend’s minor semi-final.
“We spoke about defence all week and we knew we had to turn up against Parkes,” Toomey-White said.
“Our last two games against them literally went down to the last minute so we knew we’d have to work hard for the full 80 minutes.
“Defensively, the boys stepped up and we defended it out when the two boys were sent to the bin and it was just a great effort from the boys today.”
Despite the 24-point win, Toomey-White said there’s no doubt his side can improve again in next weekend’s clash with the Fishies.
Improvement is also something Parkes needs to do.
After winning five of their first six games this season, the Spacemen are in real danger of sliding out of premiership contention following successive defeats.
The visitors started well on Sunday and scored through Jacob Smede and James Goonrey, but they failed to create any genuine chances after that.
Discipline was also an issue at times, particularly late in the first half and that allowed the Cowboys to take back the lead.
“It’s definitely worrying with the scorelines,” captain-coach Alex Prout said, his side went into the finals after a 44-6 hammering at the hands of Forbes.
“We’ve chopped and changed a lot and haven’t been able to get any momentum with players in and out but that’s footy and we’ve got to deal with it.
“There’s no use making excuses, we’ve got to deal with what we’ve got and hopefully if we play our best we can get over Forbes next week.”
Wellington will feature in three of the four major semi-finals next weekend, taking on CYMS in both first grade and the reserves.
“It’s semi-finals and things are different. They’re the one to beat but we’ll prepare to be there in Dubbo and have a big game,” Toomey-White said of next Sunday.
- WELLINGTON COWBOYS 34 (CJ Ralph 2, Justin Toomey-White 2, Nathan Ryan, Wallace Bruce tries; AJ Davis 5 goals) defeated PARKES SPACEMEN 10 (Jacob Smede, James Goonrey tries; Chad Porter conversion)