Dubbo CYMS coach Bernard Wilson was a pleased man on Saturday and he had every right to be, as the young Fishies delivered the under 18s performance of the weekend.
A Matt Burton-inspired CYMS proved far too strong for Parkes on Saturday, running out convincing 30-10 winners to move through to next weekend’s Group 11 preliminary final.
There they will meet Wellington after the Cowboys proved no match for minor premiers Forbes in Sunday’s major semi-final.
Denis Spathis starred with a first-half hat-trick in the 26-6 win at Apex Oval but Forbes never seemed to really get fully into their stride all game, unlike CYMS a day earlier.
Burton scored a hat-trick in the victory at Parkes, while he also booted five goals to finish with a personal tally of 22 points.
“That’s the best we’ve played in a little while and it was nice to come over here and put a good performance together,” Wilson said, before praising Burton.
<p>58 | CYMS has just been on in this 18s semi. Completely outclassed Parkes. Massive defence in final minutes when victory is already assured. Pressure still applied late. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Group11?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Group11</a> <a href="https://t.co/wPZYDYeO5r">pic.twitter.com/wPZYDYeO5r</a></p>— Nick Guthrie (@Nj_Guthrie) <a href="https://twitter.com/Nj_Guthrie/status/1033183061716787201?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 25, 2018</a>
“He was great today. I’m pretty hard on him but today I thought he was really good and managed the game well and made some really good choice.
“But our middle worked really hard to let him have those choices.”
CYMS led 12-6 at the break and produced a classy second half performance to seal the win over Parkes.
The side battled for consistency for much of the regular season but after downing Macquarie in the elimination final the young Fishies produced one of the best performances on Saturday.
“We were better than last week and we completed a lot better. It was a tough job in the first half going into a strong breeze but we did the job and I’m really happy,” Wilson said.
“We won’t get ahead of ourselves.
“I said a couple weeks ago any of the top four sides could win it and now we’re down to three so we’ve got to hang in there and give ourselves a chance.”
While CYMS got better as the game went on Saturday, it was Forbes’ brilliant first-half performance which set up the win on Sunday.
Spathis’ hat-trick was the highlight, his third coming when leaping high above the Cowboys defence to field a cross-field kick in some style.
Charlie Staines, backing up after playing a key role in Saturday’s first grade win over Parkes, was also heavily involved and scored in the first half as the Magpies led 20-0 at the break.
<p>HT | TRY! Well I really put the mock on Forbes. After my praise they throw a forward pass and then give away a penalty to let Wellington in. Cowboys score, beat grubber from Brock Naden planted down by Josh Flynn. Naden converts, Cowboys trail 20-6 at the break. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Group11?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Group11</a></p>— Nick Guthrie (@Nj_Guthrie) <a href="https://twitter.com/Nj_Guthrie/status/1033558939126849537?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 26, 2018</a>
With such a dominant lead at the break, the Magpies took the foot off the gas slightly in the second stanza.
Wellington, without key man Will Allen and Timothy Boney-Stewart, struggled to create any real chances and the Cowboys battled to get through a big Magpies forward pack.
Prop Thomas Hopkins crossed in the second half after Josh Flynn scored for the Cowboys, who became frustrated late on and had Kieran Baker sent to the bin.
The late stages failed to hit any great heights but the pocket of Forbes fans at Apex Oval were delighted at full-time, with the Magpies set to feature in the Group 11 under 18s grand final for a second successive season.