The Dubbo Kangaroos' season has come to a tough end at the hands of Cowra on Sunday.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Having led for most of the first half, Dubbo couldn't keep up with the Eagles late in the Blowes Cup minor semi-final, with Cowra running away with a 37-21 win at home.
It's a win that keeps the Eagles' season alive and captain Cooper Sullivan confessed to Cluch the side had to dig deep.
"I'm very, very happy but the job isn't done yet," he said.
"We've got a few more games left to go if we want to take it out, I'm very happy we got the job done in the second half."
"I think they played really well today, they are so physical and kept coming which knew they would," he said.
"Unfortunately we just had a couple of little moments where we let ourselves down and credit to them, they took full advantage of them."
In his first game back since getting injured representing Central West, Jake Styles wasted no time making an impact.
The Roos inside centre slotted a pair of penalty goals as Dubbo led 6-0 in the early going.
Cowra hit back in the 15th minute through inside centre Sionelose Anau after he cut back past Dubbo's defence.
Noah Ryan's conversion gave Cowra their first lead of the afternoon but it wasn't held for long.
Mo Kavaefiafi darted over in the right-hand corner as he had threatened to do for most of the first half just two minutes after the Eagles had scored.
The game went back-and-forth the next 10 minutes before Dubbo gave a penalty away inside their own 50, with Cowra given the chance to cut the gap.
It was an option the Eagles gladly accepted with Ryan again kicking true.
Styles managed to match his Central West teammate by slotting his third penalty goal of the half before Cowra scored again, this time through Blake Tidswell.
Ryan's missed conversion meant Cowra trailed 16-15 at the break but they would soon blow the game wide open.
"We knew we had left a bit out there in the first half," Sullivan said.
"In the second half, we went out there and played how we know we can."
Just 10 minutes into the second half, the match was flipped on its head when Kavaefiafi was red-carded after it was ruled he had made contact with a Cowra player's head with his shoulder entering the ruck.
It was a decision which heavily impacted Dubbo's chances and Koerstz said it was tough to see one of their best players end his season like that.
"He has been immense this year, he has struggled with injuries in the past few years," he said.
"I don't want to take away from his season but it was unfortunate today (Sunday).
"You have those moments and those calls, it is what it is. I don't want to take anything away from him because you saw what he could do in the first 50 minutes.
"He was one of the best players on the field and I think he is one of the best in the comp. Unfortunately, that's a moment in footy. We had them and Cowra had them as well."
Down to 14 men, Dubbo got a positive of their own when an Eagles player was yellow-carded for 10 minutes due to a professional foul.
But failing to capitalise on the strong field position, Dubbo turned the ball pack over.
Ryan's massive day out against Dubbo continued when he scored in the corner to hand the hosts back the lead, with the star fullback converting his own try.
Late tries to Tidswell and Damian Michael signalled the end for Dubbo with Campbell Watts scoring a consolation try at the end.
The strong second-half performance means the Roos now have been eliminated in the first week of finals in back-to-back years and Koerstz felt they were just a little slow off the mark.
"I think they probably just beat us off the mark in the second half," he said.
"We struggled to find our rhythm like we had in the first half, I think you've probably got to give them credit.
"The way they put it to us in the second half and Noah (Ryan) but the ball in positions which were really hard to get out of."
Cowra's win means they will now travel to Orange this weekend to face Emus.
Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens.Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.