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Sam Debenham

There may be something special brewing at Goodooga as they continued their outstanding form in the Barwon Darling Cup with a heart-stopping 24-22 win over Brewarrina at Magpie Park in Goodooga, further enhancing their title credentials in front of their home crowd.

Second-rower Ashley Wood couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for what is building in the competition’s newest member, after they held off a determined Golden Googars men’s side to preserve their unbeaten run.

“It was a thriller, great to be playing back at home, in front of the home crowd, we knew Brewarrina would come out firing and they did,” Wood said.

“It was close the whole way through, we were locked up at 10-all at half time, we just knew we had to put our foot down and try and go on with it in the second half.”

The Magpies and Googars went try for try for much of the game before it came down to the last few minutes as Brewarrina searched for the match-winner that would breach the two-point deficit.

In a competition more renowned for its attacking footy than its stout defence, Goodooga turned away a number of brilliant attacking forays from Brewarrina to cling onto their narrow lead and come away with the win.

“They did get close, very close, we had to up the effort in defence to keep them out,” Wood said.

“Robert Lane was outstanding for us, he knew all about what ‘Bree’ would bring, knew what was coming and he led the way.”

Wood said that the buzz around the tiny community was building with every win and from a personal point of view he simply couldn’t be happier that footy is back in the town.

“It means the world to me, to a lot of people around here,” he said.

“We all grew up with it, we knew coming back into the competition what it would mean for everyone involved.

“A few of the boys had gone and played at other clubs, we had some blokes in Dubbo playing down there and a few in other towns, once we got told we were back in straight away everyone said they were keen to come back home and play for us.

“The support in the community has been amazing, every Wednesday and Thursday we have our raffles at the pub and the fundraising stuff and people are really getting behind us.

“There has been some talk about trying to get some junior teams up and running, we have some good kids coming up so that would be huge.”

And while he knows there is a long way to go, Wood admits the talk has turned a few times to whether the club could achieve a fairy tale title win in their maiden season back on the field.

“We’ve all got it in our minds, we want to do it – 100 per cent,” he said.

“The last time we had a Grand Final at home from what I’ve been told it was in the 1970s, we are aiming to get it back again,” he concluded.

Meanwhile in Walgett, the two local sides staged one of the best derbies in recent years but ultimately the Dragons proved a touch too strong for their cross-town opposition.

Both sides were at or close to full strength in the thrilling contest, and while the Wanderers had some questionable form in the games leading into this clash, there were no signs of that on the weekend.

Coming back from a couple of early Walgett tries, they kept themselves within arm’s reach of the Dragons at half-time and with 10 minutes to go only four points separated the sides before Lewis Ellis Sr sealed the win with Walgett’s sixth try of the game.

“It was a good game of footy, we started off two early tries – as the game got on, Newtown snuck in a few tries to keep it close,” Walgett captain-coach Jared Hunt said.

“There was a pretty decent crowd there, it was another good turnout for the last local derby of the season if we don’t play them again in the finals. It was a good, tough game.”

Over at Lightning Ridge, Bree’s juniors flexed their muscles once more in a strong display against the young Redbacks, including the Under 18s who ended up running out 30-10 winners.

Five-eighth Tye Boney spearheaded the victory as he had a hand in numerous line breaks and scoring opportunities, and his halves offsider Malakye Biles was equally impressive as he scored two tries and generally bobbed up any time Boney didn’t.

Brewarrina continued their good form in the Under 15s girls’ competition but had to work hard as Lightning Ridge pushed them in the 24-10 result.

The Under 15s boys completed a hat-trick for the Googars juniors on the road in what was perhaps the clash of the day, winning 30-16.

What's next

Bourke host Goodooga and Newtown welcome Brewarrina in the men’s competition.

In the ladies and girls league tag and Under 18s and Under 15s boys matches, Bouke hosts the sides from Lightning Ridge.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.