By Casey O’connor
The Warwick Cowboys’ opportunity to play in the finals of the 2022 TRL Hutchinson Builders competition A Grade competition look to have been dashed after they suffered a 24-12 loss to the Dalby Diehards in front of a passionate Diehards home crowd last Saturday night.
The Cowboys went into the game without inspirational co-captain Mick Bloomfield who the coach revealed suffered a season-ending injury in the game against Gatton last round. Bloomfield who was originally thought to have suffered a shoulder injury in fact tore the tendon off his bicep and underwent surgery earlier this week. The team was also missing several players from their normal roster due to illness however the coach would not put the loss down to these disruptions.
The big Dalby side had a commanding 18-0 halftime lead. Coach Matt Grew said, “We spoke at the break about getting better control of the ball in ruck“.
“I felt if we could get hold of the ball and hold on to it, we were still a chance.”
The game certainly went up a notch in the second half. Both sides were aware of the importance of the game, especially the Cowboys who were fighting to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Cowboys held the ball for longer and Grew said “ They dug deep and just refused to give up”. The weight of Warwick’s possession eventually paid dividends. A Morgan Byrne try in the 52nd put the Cowboys on the board and Mitch Watson who took over the kicking duties converted.
Minutes later Watson scored himself off-chip kick from Mitch Wilson. Watson had plenty to do after juggling the ball but got to the line to score. He successfully converted his own try and it was game on. With the margin now only a converted try, a window of opportunity opened momentarily for the Cowboys.
A Cowboys dropped ball late in the half changed the complexion of the game and when Sam Fermor scored for Dalby it was game over.
Coach Matt Grew said, “I could not have been prouder of the effort of the boys. “The score does not properly reflect their efforts. “I have told them that although it was a disappointing loss, they should be proud of their efforts.”
He went on to say that the team is filled with players who played their junior rugby league with Collegians or Suburbs and aspired to play A Grade for the Cowboys. It is something that the Cowboy’s as a club and their supporters should be very proud of.
The Cowboys now have a run of three home games to finish their season and while unlikely, there is still a remote mathematical chance the side could make the finals. It would take some miraculous results in the final three rounds, but the coach says his team will be playing each round as though they are finals bound “cause you never can say never”.
Matt Grew also revealed that after a seven-year coaching stint with the Cowboys he plans to take a break from Rugby League at the end of the 2022 season.
“I have a business to grow now and a young daughter who starts school next year. “It’s time for me to hand the reins to someone new with fresh ideas while I spend some quality time with the family,” Grew said.
In the meantime, he and the team are focusing their attention on next week’s game against Brothers.
The door may be closed on finals for the A Grade side but the Reggies scored a 38-12 win last weekend and sit in fifth place on the Reserve Grade ladder. The A Grade side will be working with the team to ensure they make it to the TRL Reserve Grade finals.
The Under 19s suffered a loss last weekend and sit just outside the top five.