Rovers’ red hot thriller

It was billed as one of the matches of the season and it didn't disappoint as the Boorowa Rovers and the Harden Hawks played out a thrilling 6 all draw in a match that left the salivating crowd wanting an encore after seventy spine tingling minutes.

These two teams will no doubt cross paths again this season and after last weekend they may well have to hold it at ANZ Stadium to fit the crowd in.

This was bush footy at its very best as both teams gave their all but couldn't gain superiority over one another.

Like two punch drunk boxers trading blows in twelve brutal rounds, both sides couldn’t land the killer blow and just like a title fight that went the distance, controversy wasn't far away.

In front of a very healthy crowd who braved the elements, Boorowa dominated possession in the early minutes with three consecutive penalties.

However the Rovers were unable to convert the glut of possession into points and it was Harden who scored first through their centre in the seventh minute.

The conversion was successful and little did the Hawks know that it was the last time they would bother the scoreboard attendant who wasn’t troubled too much during the afternoon.

Boorowa were threatening midway through the first half when a promising backline raid broke down with the final pass failing to hit the mark with the try line wide open.

Both sets of forwards tried to dominate the middle and the rest of the half became an arm wrestle. Harden had a late chance in the half on the back of a penalty but couldn't break the rock solid Rovers defence.

The second half was a carbon copy of the first, but it was the Rovers who woke the scoreboard attendant up when Matt Black scored a well-deserved try from close range.

Andrew Burns made no mistake with the kick and the score was all locked up at 6-6 with 25 minutes left.

Both teams continued to launch attacking raids only to be denied but it was Harden who had the best opportunity to go into the lead with fifteen minutes left.

Boorowa conceded a penalty right in front of their own posts that may well have presented Harden with an 8-6 lead. However the Hawks were keen to go for the jugular and looked for a converted try. The decision proved costly as the coughed up possession just a few tackles later.

Boorowa went close with just six minutes left when Michael McNamara almost crashed over near the posts.

With time ticking away both sides went into field goal mode and it was Daniel Roberts who had first crack for the Rovers only to see the ball go well wide of the sticks.

With just over a minute left, Boorowa had the ball just in Hardens half and looked set for one last raid. However a costly error saw Harden regain possession and in the blink of an eye they were pressing the Rovers line.

With just seconds left, Harden slotted what appeared to be a field goal only to have the one point denied and a restart ruled. However time then beat both sides and it was fitting that this highly enthralling thriller ended in a draw.

It was a game that left both sets of supporters thirsty for some more but even extra time may not have been enough. This match had the feel of a semi-final and there is no doubt these two old foes will cross paths at least once more this season.

For Boorowa, Matt Black was a standout player of the match with three points. He took the ball up strongly all day and was rewarded with the only Rovers try.

Andrew Burns received two points for another tireless display and some bruising defence whilst Trent Garrett was at his scheming best picking up one point.

Murray Armour was solid all day at lock and Tom Carnell and Michael McNamara both made some big runs and allowed the backs to ply their trade.

It was a physical encounter and though a little heated at times, both sides played the game in great spirits and like those punch drunken boxers, they respected one another and vowed to meet again soon.

Who knows, it may well have been a final preview but there's a lot of water to flow under the bridge between now and September.

In other matches last weekend, Binalong 36 beat Gunning 0, whilst Bungendore won on forfeit from Boomanulla. North Canberra and Crookwell had the bye whilst UC Grizzlies play ADFA at a later date.

Boorowa face another old foe this weekend when the make the short journey to take on the Binalong Brahmans in what is a danger game for the Rovers against a Binalong side desperate to hold down fifth spot.

They have the Bungendore Tigers and UC Grizzlies nipping at their heels and can't afford too many more losses. The Rovers are only one point above the third place Bears so they need to win to maintain a top three birth.

In other matches in George Tooke, Bungendore host the slowly improving Gunning, Harden are at home to the Grizzlies whilst the match of the round will see the league leaders Crookwell take on a rejuvenated North Canberra Bears. ADFA and Boomanulla both have a bye this weekend.

The following week sees the local sides return home against Bungendore. Well see you this Saturday at Binalong.