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Iluka Cossacks out muscle Buccaneers

The mighty Iluka Cossacks finally got to play last week against cross river rivals, the Yamba Buccaneers at the Iluka Sports Complex. The Presidents Cup competition has been thrown into turmoil with rugby power house club Ballina, refusing to commit on a weekly basis to play the opposition over the past 10 weeks. Ballina have contested just 3 games over this period and left the smaller clubs swinging in the breeze.
At this stage, it appears Ballina have been removed from the competition and all remaining clubs will be guaranteed games for the remainder of the season. This is great news for these clubs as it has been difficult to keep players enthused playing the sport they love on a regular basis. Each week rival clubs look like they are playing their first game of the season with a lack of combinations evident, but spectators should see some real entertainment till the end of the season now the dust has settled.
The Cossacks had defeated Yamba twice this season and with a full bench of players the locals were looking for the trifecta of wins. What the Cossacks had not taken into account was the fact that the Buccaneers, while weakened by injury have pride within their club and the youthful team which took the field did their club proud. While the Cossacks looked in control for most of the game Yamba remained within striking distance of victory right up to the last 5 minutes.
Before a healthy home crowd, who only found out on Thursday there was a game, the locals started strongly. While the Cossacks dominated field position they bumbled their way around the park giving Yamba plenty of opportunities. Yamba gleefully accepted these gifts and were rewarded with two first half tries and Iluka had a game on their hands. The Cossacks had put a monster forward pack on the field and they had control of the much smaller Yamba forwards but were guilty of over playing the forward exchanges. Frustration was creeping into the Cossacks and when the backs got the ball they started playing like the Harlem Globetrotters, minus hands. End result was flashy play but poor execution which saw many an opportunity wasted.
The Cossacks led 12-10 at the break and went on to win 22-10. The Cossacks have displayed both moments of magic and madness throughout the season and these skills were on full display against Yamba. The Cossacks can be a threat in this competition but if they continue to play with no respect for the ball then they will get beat. However, now with regular games, coach Wiseman believes the team will be firing by finals time and prove difficult to beat.
In the forwards, Zac Newton once again led the way and the extra training is starting to prove fruitful for the team. Nathan Callister played his first home game for the Club and was a hit with local supporters with his rampaging runs over the undulating fields. Ben Corfe, once again left his hands at home and was swiftly replaced to regain his composure on the bench. Out wide, young TJ Kapeen only playing his third game had an absolute blinder and is settling in well with the squad under the guidance of cool heads Kris Thomsen and Jason James. Watch these guys at the back end of the season.
This week the Cossacks travel up to Evans Head to take on the competition leaders. A win by Iluka will see them one win behind Evans and a chance to be minor premiers later in the season. Last time these two teams clashed Evans came away with a 13-12 win. Both teams have improved since that game and an entertaining game is expected.

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