Wellington halfback Adrian Davis was sensational for the Cowboys during a thrilling, 25-24 comeback victory over Parkes on Sunday.
But the gifted No.7 felt he owed one to his teammates at Kennard Park.
Davis’ left boot helped lift the home side back from a 20-6 half-time deficit to 24-all with three minutes remaining, following a sensational cross-field kick from fullback Will Lousick to a flying Norm West, who touched down under the sticks to draw the Cowboys level with the Spacemen.
The high profile recruit from the Newcastle area stepped up to take the go-ahead conversion, but lost his footing on the approach and shanked the goal to the right of the posts, leaving both the score locked at 24-all and the Wellington faithful stunned.
Parkes went for the short kick-off, one Wellington regathered, before Davis marched his forwards upfield and set up for a field goal.
On the last tackle, Davis got the ball 40 metres out and, this time, had no issues with his footing as he wound up for the one-pointer, landing the decisive blow with just seconds left on the clock to send his side ahead and that same crowd that was stunned just moments before into raptures, Wellington completing a pulsating comeback victory over a tough Parkes.
“As I was walking in to the ball, I slipped … I just had to redeem myself and what better way to come down, set it up and pop it over,” a jubilant Davis said.
“I owed my team that. It’s the only thing I did all game. I need to lift my game and we need to keep improving. All we want to do is give ourselves a chance to have a crack at it at the end of the year.”
After a first half that was largely underwhelming from the hosts, Swade Dunn kick started a terrific run for the Cowboys with a try two minutes after the break.
I owed my team that.Wellington half-back AJ Davis after kicking the match-winning field goal.
Kenny Everson then crossed off a Dunn cut-out ball before Lousick stole the show with a try of the year contender.
The young fullback picked up a regulation downfield kick before skipping across field and then burning three Parkes defenders on a scintillating 70 metre run to score in the corner and draw the Cowboys level with the Spacemen at 20-all.
The visitors hit back momentarily after Chad Porter snuck under the Wellington defence down a short-side, but that swing in momentum was only brief.
With a big wind at their back, Wellington again lifted and when Lousick’s kick landed in the grasp of Norm West out wide, before the speedy winger raced in under the sticks to score, it looked like Davis would kick the hosts to a memorable win.
He did, in the end, just a little later than most thought.
Injury has compounded the loss for Parkes with Alex Prout set to spend some time on the sidelines with a niggling injury the Spacemen captain-coach didn’t want to delve into at fulltime
Prout remained coy about his injury, one that forced the gun dummy-half from the field late in the first half. He didn’t reappear for the second stanza, either, one Parkes ultimately lost 19-4 as the hosts stormed home to snatch the competition points at Kennard Park.
“I’ve got a bit of a niggle,” Prout said preferring not to reveal what his injury is.
First half highlight was undoubtably big Parkes prop Jostateki Sovau and Wello half AJ Davis enjoying a bit of a push and shove.— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) July 8, 2018
Big Sovau must be watching the #WorldCup because he hit the deck very dramatically about 5 seconds after being shoved. Hilarious.#Group11
“I’ll regroup but I’ll say I’ll be out for a few weeks.”
With Prout on the field, Parkes started the better of the two sides, a double to Waisele Ratuelina highlighting a brilliant opening 40 minutes for the visitors as they went into the sheds up 20-6.
But Prout’s outfit barely touched the ball in the final period as Davis controlled proceedings with his left boot and helped lift the Cowboys to victory with the dagger right before full-time.
“I think the wind was a little bit of a factor but we really didn’t come out of the sheds in that second half and our defence, the urgency in defence early on, it wasn’t there and we let in some soft tries which got them back in the game,” Prout added.
“We still had chances to win the game. We were the better side ... but our defence was poor and when you give Wello momentum they’re hard to stop.”
- WELLINGTON COWBOYS 25 (Justin Toomey-White, Kenny Everson, Swade Dunn, Will Lousick, Norm West tries; AJ Davis 2 goals; AJ Davis field goal) def PARKES SPACEMEN 24 (Waisele Ratuelina 2, Maikeli Sivo, Chad Porter, Brendon Paige tries; Chad Porter 2 goals)