Kootingal Roosters defeated Gunnedah Bulldogs 26-12 at the Kootingal Recreation Reserve on Saturday night.

The two sides went to the halftime break six-all after the Roosters had taken the lead through a Billy Nean converted try before the Bulldogs hit back with a DJ Smith intercept try.

Nean added a second early in the second half when the Roosters swooped on a dropped Gunnedah pass in their 20 but it was game on when the Bulldogs hit back in the 61st minute.

Winger Emori Waqavulagi was cut loose and his brilliant speed floored the Roosters to tie up the game for a second time.

However, a penalty against the Bulldogs in a play the ball gave the home side the chance to break the deadlock and it did so when young prop Jasper Thistle galloped over from 20m out.

Then winger McKay Davis-Tucknott’s midfield break resulted in an Adam Murphy try to enable the Rooster props to quinella the six-pointers before electric five-eighth Brayden Jerrard swooped on a wide pass, to intercept and seal the game in the final minute.

Roosters coach, Mark Sheppard, said the hard-fought win keeps the side in the top four.

“It was a good win for the boys, for the club and the community. Everyone puts in a lot of hard work out here, a lot of stuff behind the scenes.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for us,” he said whilst also praising Gunnedah.

“They are a good side, you have to keep your guard up. Their big prop (Lincon Smith) played a full game and kept charging it to us. He was outstanding, I thought.

“It was a tough game too. A real grind, had to be patient and our kicking game was not the best but we worked hard.”

He thought Rooster fullback, Jack Rumsby, was “great again” “and Dylan Clark on the wing got good yard for us. Jasper was great on the edge and Brayden (Jerrard) was good too. And we defended really well in the second half.”

Gunnedah coach, Sean Hayne, said a “few mistakes and errors cost us”.

“I thought we were in control in the second half,” he told G4 Media.

“But we got a little impatient and frustrated. That let the pressure off.”

He said his side has to learn to play the full 80 minutes not in patches.

Props Lincon Smith and KC Edmonds had big games for the Bulldogs with hooker Callum Hayne always a threat.

His defence was also impressive with one massive second half hit staggering his much bigger opponent.

First Grade: Kootingal 26 (Billy Nean 2, Brayden Jerrard, Jasper Thistle, Adam Murphy tries, Brayden Jerrard 3gls) d Gunnedah 12 (David Smith, Emori Waqavulagi tries, Johnathon Crowe 2gls). Whitehaven Coal G4 B&F: 3 Jasper Thistle (K), 2 Callum Hayne (G), 1 KC Edmonds (G).

Second Grade: Kootingal 40 (Nic Zahra 2, Brendan O’Leary, Deacon Tait, Adam Darlington, Ricky Sharpley, Garyn Burns, Eroni Vukicea tries, Justin Boney 4gls) d Gunnedah 16 (AJ King, Lewis Muller, Liam Ireland tries, Bailey Crowe 2gls) Whitehaven Coal G4 B&F: 3 Jackson Brookman (K), 2 Matt Ross (G), 1 Nix Zahra (K).

Ladies League Tag: Kootingal 42 (Monique Corbett 3, Kynesha Fuller 2, Hayley Brown, Imogen Smith, Ashlee McKay tries, Corbett 5gls) d Gunnedah 6 (Zara Manion try, Zoe Fleming gl) Whitehaven Coal G4 B&F: 3 Monique Corbett (K), 2 Nautica Eather (G), 1 Kynesha Fuller (K).

To order photos from this page click here