Comeback too late for Cobras

Last Sunday Clarence Town Cobras travelled to Coronation Park to play the unknown West Maitland Red Dogs.
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The West team had been relegated a grade, so it was hard to gauge their previous form but previous visits to the “graveyard” have always been torrid and the Cobras were well aware they would need to perform well to come away with a win.

A strong Westerly wind blowing straight across the ground added to the conditions that indicated a game of sweeping backline movements would never be likely.

Clarro were unable to control the ball in the opening forty minutes.

They were their own worst enemies; on numerous occasions they surrendered possession on early tackles in positions which enabled the West side to mount immediate attack.

If it wasn’t for their courageous and at times fantastic on-line defence their first half performance could have been a total disaster.

The Red Dogs they capitalised on the errors and ran in five tries to one in the opening forty minutes and went to the break with a commanding 28-6 lead.

The only glimmer of hope for Clarro came from hooker Andrew Bashford when he used clever dummy half skills to score in the 30th minute.

To their credit Clarro rallied to the challenge and produced a complete turnaround in their game.

The Cobras managed to control their attack and maintain a strong defense to dominate the second half.

Johnson began the resurgence when he stepped through the defence to score next to the posts.

He again was in the thick of things when he steamed on to a pass and leave three would-be defenders clutching at air on a twenty-metre run to the line.

The conversion gave the Cobras some hope of victory closing the gap to 28-12.

By this stage Clarro had all the momentum and when Johnson again showed his uncanny ability to score a try when needed the Cobras closed the margin further.

A sideline conversion from Badior had the Clarro supporters thinking the impossible win may be a chance of happening.

In the backs, Ben Trappel and James Spence continually annoyed the defence with probing runs and the forward pack led by Kyle Ridgeway and the Hinton brothers were splendid in their efforts to make valuable metres.

Unfortunately a mix up in defence close to the Cobras line enabled the home side to score again to stretch their lead to 34-24.

Once again Clarro responded with what was definitely the try of the game, if not their season so far.

After the ball travelled though several sets of hands with clever passing and offloads, Hinton threw a deft inside pass for Ridgeway to charge over and score.

Sadly it was all a little too late as the first half deficit proved all too hard to conquer leaving the fulltime score at 34-30.

It would be easy to congratulate the Cobras on their immense second half efforts but the reality is in their last two games they have given away a 20 point and 22 point lead at halftime due to poor handling.

The final score in both games indicates to everyone the courage and commitment of the team, they just need show more respect for possession.

Kieran Hinton was named player’s player and best forward while Phil Badior was the best back, Kyle Ridgeway picked up the supporters award and Callan Gorman won best benchy.

Best and Fairest Points: Kieran Hinton (3) Brad Johnson (2) Phil Badior (1).

Next week Clarro are at home to Hinton on Sunday 2pm.

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