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Narrow loss for Iluka Cossacks

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than a lovely drive up to Kyogle to play rugby. There was only one game played in any sport on the North Coast last Saturday and the Iluka Cossacks were lucky enough to be involved in that game. Due to the warnings of dangerous weather conditions and to stay of the roads unless necessary it would seem common sense would apply with the postponement of the game to a later date. But no, as apparently it is up to individual clubs to make that decision. By proceeding with the game, maybe Kyogle thought the Cossacks would forfeit the game but they had not taken into account the new resolve and spirit within the Club. Just getting to the highway was an ordeal with trees and branches already across the road and knowing that things were only going to get worse, the players knew it was going to be one scary bus ride on the way home. The game started fractionally late as the two Cossack supporters had trouble finding a seat in the ark but when settled the game got under way. Kyogle began like a shot out of a cannon and their forwards completed dominated the Cossacks in the first 20 minutes scoring two tries to lead 10-0. The Cossacks were in panic mode during this period and went to their backs looking for points but to no avail. The Cossacks backs thought the ball was a lit stick of dynamite as they threw the ball around with nobody being keen to be caught with the ball and have a rampaging Kyogle forward pack scrimmage over the top and get our jerseys dirty. A memo for the future, forwards don’t like this approach. After the initial onslaught, the Cossack forwards began to get on top of the Kyogle giants and suddenly the game took on a new complexion. Kyogle began making mistakes and the Cossacks seized on the opportunity to send block busting centre Michael Randall over out wide and with the conversion the Cossacks were down 10-7 at the break. The Iluka Cossacks of the past would have “turned it up” by this period but this year’s squad has a determination and grit about themselves not seen in many teams. This DNA has seen the Cossacks already win some close games at the death this year. The Cossacks have shown brilliance this year and also moments of madness and nothing changed in the second half. Iluka quickly got into stride and scored a converted try to go up 14-10 with plenty of time on the clock. The Cossacks, then gave away a string of penalties, which gave Kyogle plenty of ball 10 metres out from the Cossacks line. The Cossacks held firm for 10 minutes and were rewarded with a much needed penalty. For some reason still unknown, a quick tap was taken and the ball passed to a man in an offside position. Result, Kyogle ball and a soft try was soon awarded and Kyogle were in front again. With 10 minutes to go, the Cossacks lifted the tempo of the game and soon were on the attack 20 metres out from the line. The Cossacks were on their toes as they had only been in this area twice and had come up with two tries. Unfortunately, at this period a Kyogle player collided with his own player and was knocked unconscious and with an ambulance required the game was called off. Kyogle had won the game 17-14 and the score was a true reflexion of their dominance till that period in the game. In the backs brothers, Dan and Chris Mitchell had strong games while in the forwards the usual culprits Dalton Shaw , Mutton , the Duncombe’s were strong while Zac Newton had his strongest game of the year revelling in the conditions. It was a tough trip home with visibility virtually nil from Woodburn onwards and the rumour of some players kissing the ground when they got home is true. Next game is against arch enemy Ballina who cruelly beat the Cossacks in a grand-final a few years back. The game will be at Iluka and is our first home game in 10 weeks. Keep Saturday June 18 free as the locals will really turn it on that day with some champagne rugby. Tony Wiseman