The Cobar Roosters are quite accustomed to taking the long road, but even by their standards the path taken to the Castlereagh League grand final has been special.
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There may not have been a long roadtrip on Saturday - the preliminary final was played at home at the Narromine Jets - but their win over Narromine and their journey to the decider has all been done the hard way.
The Roosters, not for the first time in recent outings, put themselves in a precarious position against the Jets early on Saturday but an almighty comeback secured the victory and a grand final date with the unbeaten Gulgong Terriers next Saturday at Billy Dunn Oval.
Prior to the preliminary final, Cobar had played six successive away games and travelled more than a staggering 4500km to get to games and back home again in that time. For context, driving from Sydney to Perth is just under 4000kms.
In the prelim final, the Roosters' ball security was never at a high standard and that inability to maintain possession cost them dearly as Narromine led by 10-8 at half-time and then 22-8 midway through the second half.
It seemed the Jets were well on their way to the decider, but a pivotal play from Roosters captain-coach Thomas Plater in the 63rd minute changed things.
Plater's quick thinking in executing a one-on-one strip of the ball from a Narromine player who had just fielded a Roosters kick in his own in goal, and grounding the ball for a try, provided Cobar with some degree of belief.
Their ball control didn't get a whole lot better but the momentum was there for the Roosters and two tries, both of which were unconverted, in the 67th and 74th minutes made it all square at 22-all.
A penalty then in the final minutes gave the Roosters a two-point advantage and then, much to the delight of the home crowd, Cobar centre Fraser Talu scored in the final seconds to secure a 30-22 win.
Having beaten Gilgandra in last season's decider, the Roosters will look to make it two-from-two when they make the long trek to Gulgong on Saturday.
As disappointing as it was for Narromine at Cobar, they will still be represented on grand final day as their league tag side will meet Dunedoo for the title.
In reserve grade, the Gilgandra Panthers completed a remarkable run from fifth place on the ladder by defeating Baradine 12-10 in their preliminary final to secure passage through to a decider date with the Coonabarabran Unicorns.
Games will start at 11.30am at Gulgong.
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