Ill-discipline and injuries cost a competitive Cowboys outfit a four-point loss to the Nyngan Tigers at home on Sunday.
In a tough match, the Tigers ran out 26-22 winners after a late Cowboys surge.
Cowboys coach Aidan Ryan said several factors contributed to the loss, but the most damaging were the injuries to the side and lapses in discipline.
“There were a couple incidents that definitely hurt us,” Ryan said.
“We had a couple of boys sent off at different stages, so for a total of 20 minutes during the game we were playing with one man less than them [Nyngan].”
Ryan was happy with his side’s first half.
“We were up 12-nil and really getting along well. I’m really disappointed we didn’t get the win.”
During the undermanned period, the Tigers piled on three tries, taking full advantage of gaps in the Cowboys lines.
Norm West was sent off for a professional foul, and Lewis Stanley was sidelined for fighting.
“I thought Lewis especially was stiff. He got struck first, but the refs didn’t see it. So we were a man down when, really, their guy should have been sent off too.”
Injuries didn’t do the Cowboys any favours either.
“We were down to one man on the bench for most of the second half. That really made things hard too.”
Several boys stood out.
“Club president Nathan Smith was really good all day, and I was really proud of Lewis Stanley.
“He was instrumental in setting up a couple of our tries and the Tigers couldn’t handle a few of his storming runs.
“Richard Peckham scored a late try to get us back within a few points, but to Nyngan’s credit, their defence held back our late runs.”
Ryan said he is keen to face up against the also-winless Dubbo Westside on Sunday.
“Should be a good, physical hit-out. We’re playing them in Dubbo and are both looking for our first win.”