Cootamundra continued their positive start to the season with a tight win over Kangaroos.
The Bulldogs are now four from five to start the season with their only blemish a big loss to Southcity.
Tristan Dickson set up a thrilling finish when he got Kangaroos within six points with his second try of the game with 10 minutes to play, but Cootamundra held strong to take a 30-24 victory.
Winning without captain-coach Glen Buttriss for the second time this season, this time due to illness, assistant coach Aaron Byrne was pleased with how his team fought off the late challenge by the Wagga side.
“It was a very tit-for-tat game and we were very lucky to get away with it,” Byrne said.
“I said during the week Kangaroos were a lot strong than their form suggests, and they were, they never went away and every time we scored they would get one back.
“In the last five minutes they had four sets in our half attacking so we had to dig quite deep to win.”
Chris Maher was the star of the show scoring four tries.
He opened the scoring in the third minute and showed his versatility by scoring while playing in three different positions across the day.
Maher started at five-eighth before playing in the second row and at centre to cover the loss of Jade Cowled.
Jake Goodwin was also strong.
Byrne was also pleased with how his team was able to come through a close game with the majority of their previous wins being reasonably comfortable.
“The games we have won we’ve been fairly comfortable with 10 or 15 minutes to go, last week was a good example, whereas today we had to play out the whole 80 minutes,” he said.
“It was nice to win under different circumstances.”
He’s looking to continue that form against Brothers at Les Boyd Oval on Saturday.
He’s hopeful Buttriss will be right to play after being too sick to even travel to the game to watch from the sidelines.
“It was good to win without him, it shows the boys can do it without him, but it also highlighted how much we do miss him with a lack of direction at times,” he said.
After making his return from Achilles tendon surgery in reserve grade Byrne and former Cootamundra and Temora coach Grant Boyd both played off the bench.
The loss was Kangaroos’ fourth from five games, but once again there was little difference between the two sides.
The Wagga club’s biggest losing margin has been 10 points but their inability to win the close games is really hurting as they sit near the bottom of the ladder.
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