Wellington captain-coach Aidan Ryan has lashed his side’s poor discipline despite the Cowboys producing a tough effort to grind out a 26-16 victory over Forbes on Sunday.
Played at Kennard Park and minus big names Nathan Merritt and Reggie Saunders – both were late withdrawals - the hosts led 22-6 and then 26-10 late in the game but conceded six of the final seven penalties of the match to give Forbes a sniff of an unlikely victory.
That sniff developed into a waft when young winger Sam Tyack dove over in the corner to edge the Magpies back to a 10-point deficit late in the contest, but the hosts managed to rally and extinguish the visitors’ slim hopes of victory.
Wellington won the penalty count 11-9 but was in control until a late dip in attitude lifted the Magpies and enraged an injured Ryan post game.
“The boys need an attitude adjustment. Some people's discipline is disgraceful,” he fired.
Ryan left the field just after half-time with a back complaint, causing a re-shuffle in his side’s backs and further stunting a Cowboys attack that is at times lethal, but mistake-prone for the most part.
"We're lapsing in attack, we're making plenty of yards but when we get into an attacking position it breaks down ... that's because we're not getting enough blokes to training,” Ryan added.
Forbes started the better of the two sides and crossed early through five-eighth Mitch Burke, the young Magpie stepping off his left foot to barge his way over under the sticks.
Tough and mobile through the middle, the Forbes pack had the better of the early running but discipline, too, for Cameron Greenhalgh’s side proved costly.
A number of errors and six first-half penalties crueled the visiting swoopers.
And as good as Forbes’ defence was, the groundswell of field position the Cowboys enjoyed in the first half eventually netted tries, Richard Peckham and warhorse prop Ben McGregor crossing for converted four-pointers to bump the hosts out to a 12-6 lead at the break.
HT | Wellington leads 12-6 over Forbes at the break.— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) May 27, 2018
Forbes opportunities have been limited, while Wellington is building plenty of pressure on the Magpies defence.
First try-scorer in 2nd half will be telling - if it's the hosts, this could blow out #Group11
Needing a strong start in the second stanza, Forbes produced the exact opposite, gifting Wellington an early try through lock McKenzie Dutfield as the Cowboys shot a further six points ahead.
The Cowboys then earned even more breathing space when Swade Dunn crossed for a soft try soon after and Wellington threatened to blow-out the round five clash.
The avalanche of points didn’t eventuate but, still, the two fairly pedestrian tries Forbes conceded just after half-time proved telling.
Forbes and Wellington traded tries mid-way through the term to Pete Musunamasi and Lewis Stanley respectively and Tyack grabbed a late consolation four-pointer to round out the scoring at 26-16, but it was too little too late for a side, coach Cameron Greenhalgh says, has consistently shot itself in the foot over the course of the opening month of the season.
“Too many errors on our part. We’re letting sides off the hook with silly mistakes,” the Magpies coach said.
“I can’t stop that, it’s only the playing group. It’s letting us down and we’re doing too much defence.”
Richard Peckham was wonderful for the hosts in his first game at five-eighth, his combination with halfback AJ Davis one Ryan is hoping will florish in the coming weeks.
While for Forbes, Jake Grace was tireless in a losing side.
- WELLINGTON COWBOYS 26 (Richard Peckham, Ben McGregor, Swade Dunn, Lewis Stanley, McKenzie Dutfield tries; AJ Davis 3 goals) def FORBES MAGPIES 16 (Mitch Burke, Sam Tyack, Pete Musunamasi tries; Farren Lamb 2 goals)