Group 11 2019: Wellington Cowboys defeat Dubbo CYMS in first grade grand final

As the final seconds ticked down at Apex Oval on Sunday, Wellington coach Justin Toomey-White had a moment by himself to look at the scoreboard.

Part of it was nerves as a Group 11 first grade premiership grew nearer, but part of it was also the realisation of how far the Cowboys have come.

He was soon mobbed by teammates and fans though as Wellington's premiership drought came to an end.

The Cowboys produced a performance worthy of the occasion on Sunday to defeat Dubbo CYMS 19-10 and win a first title in first grade since 1994.

"It's been way too long," Toomey-White said.

"I was just waiting for that time to go down. We've been waiting a long time and that last 15 seconds was a long 15 seconds but it was a sweet one as well."

The Cowboys produced as good a grand final performance as you could want.

They only made two errors in the first half to take control of the game, and a Mason Williams field goal after the siren gave the side a 13-6 lead as they went into the sheds.

They only scored one more try but that's all that was needed against a CYMS side which appeared panicky and flustered for much of the second half.

Nothing exemplified the game more than a key moment in the 56th minute when Wade Kavanagh seemed destined to score for CYMS following a Corey Cox break only to be dragged down in some desperate defence from Aidan Ryan.

CYMS still had the numbers but Alex Bonham went himself the next play and was unable to ground it in-goal and soon after the Cowboys worked their way out of trouble and took the wind out of the Fishies' sails.

"There was little game-changers and clutch plays," Toomey-White said.

"Mason kicking the field goal just before half-time, the boys chasing that try down and it's just the want. It's such a great feeling."


The Cowboys had started the better but conceded the first try in the grand final when a Bonham kick bounced around before being picked up by Kavanagh, who sent Billy Sing over for the opener.

The Cowboys then piled on 19 unanswered points, with prop Mac Dutfield crashing over following a brilliant pass from hooker Dennis Moran before Will Lousick sliced through to put his side in front on 28 minutes.

Williams couldn't have hit his field goal attempt any sweeter to make it 13-6 at the break, and inside five minutes of the restart Tristan Lumley powered on to the ball from close range and went over to put his side in complete control.

The desperation and desire from the men in maroon then took centre stage as the Cowboys, led by the cool and calming heads of Dennis Moran and Bob Weir medallist Travis Waddell, grew in stature while panic and errors started to creep into the CYMS camp.

The only other points the Fishies scored in the decider proved to be just a consolation, as the gallant Alex Ronayne grabbed a deserved try for the beaten side in the final minutes.

The CYMS stand-in co-captain was gracious in his post-game speech but his side was understandably shattered after the loss.

Suspended captain-coach Jarryn Powyer, missing after being hit with a two-week ban following a high shot in the major semi, took it upon himself to shoulder much of the blame for the loss but he also paid tribute to the sheer determination of the Cowboys.

"It's tough, there's no doubt about that," Powyer said.

"I definitely let them down not being out there on grand final day to help. We've faced a fair bit of adversity this year with lots of people being out at different times and for me to rule myself out with a silly play hurt quite a bit.

"Credit goes to Wello. They really hooked in in defence and the game was probably a little slower and everyone knows we like a quick game."

CYMS had to deal with a huge amount of injuries through the year and had to again on grand final day as Harry Kempston, Tom Yeo, and Corey Drew all battled at times.

The same went for Wellington though, with Jack Kempston and Josh Griffiths struggling at times in the hugely emotional win.

The tears flowed from the Cowboys players, their families, and the fans as Apex Oval turned into a flood of maroon and white following the final whistle.

The win not only ended the 25-year wait, it also completed a stunning turnaround at the club after they conceded more than 100 points in single games during both the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

"It's indescribable. Far out," Cowboys captain Aidan Ryan said.

"I've been at this club my whole life and I've been there through the tough times but I've never given up and I've always had faith in the club.

"To be getting beat by 100 points plus and to make the prelim last year and then to come and win it this year is something special.

"I'm happy for all the boys and all the effort we've put in week in, week out.

"We were getting a bit excited before the final buzzer, it was amazing."

Ryan also said it best when looking forward to the premiership celebrations.

"I reckon the whole town will probably party for a week. It's going to be crazy," he said.

  • WELLINGTON COWBOYS 19 (Mac Dutfield, Will Lousick, Tristan Lumley tries; Mason Williams 3 goals, field goal) defeated DUBBO CYMS 10 (Billy Sing, Alex Ronayne tries; Alex Bonham goal)