A week is a long time in footy. Just asked the Boorowa Rovers who, after being unbeaten since early May, now stare death in the face after being beaten by the Harden Hawks in the qualifying semi last Saturday by 42-16. Boorowa will now play the North Canberra Bears who survived their own sudden death challenge against Binalong winning 26-12.
The 42-16 score line probably wasn’t a true reflection of the game however the Hawks did deserve the win and the right to play Crookwell for a spot in the grand final.
Boorowa looked like a side well and truly up for this clash but despite running with a first half breeze at their back, the Rovers were shell shocked after Harden put a 20-0 score line on the board in the first half hour. Harden hooker, Luke Brown carved up the usually rock solid Rovers defence to score three first half tries. Boorowa gave them some hope on the stroke of halftime when fullback Steven Death crossed which Andrew Burns converted to go to the break trailing 20-6.
After the break, the Rovers did look re-energised knowing they needed to score first to have any chance. Just four minutes into the half they did just that when Joe Anderson produced a freakish pick up off a Trent Garrett kick to crash over. Andrew Burns made no mistake and the Rovers were alive at 20-12. Boorowa were beginning to gain the ascendency launching another attacking raid only to be denied by some desperate Hawks defence.
With Boorowa looking to have shaken their first half blues, a game defining moment happened after thirteen minutes in the second half when Boorowa received a penalty in an attacking position only to have the penalty reversed in a bizarre twist just 20 meters out from the Harden line. On the back of a string of penalties to Harden and then losing Matt Black to the sin bin, the Boorowa defence could survive only so much of a relentless onslaught. Harden scored back to back tries midway through the second half to blow the lead out to 30-12. Boorowa were further hampered losing Steven Death to the sin bin as well and with just eleven on the field, the flood gates eventually opened. Harden too, lost one to the bin but defending with eleven is so much tougher than defending with twelve. The Rovers were brave as the injury toll rose as did the penalty count against the tiring Boorowa side. The lads didn’t give in, having the last say through at Matt Black try to make the score slightly respectable at 42-16.
Taking positives from this game was difficult but the Rovers did play a significant portion of the second half with at least one player down and due to a heavy penalty count, spent much of the second half without the ball. It just wasn’t their day and coach Burns was quick to emphasise after the game that the focus now needs to be North Canberra and not what might have been.
This Saturday will be another close elimination game. Boorowa and the Bears faced off just a fortnight ago with Boorowa winning a tight game by 24-12 whilst way back in round two the Bears won by 22-16. The Bears will be confident after their win last Saturday over Binalong whilst the Rovers were left nursing plenty of injuries in regrouping this week. The Rovers will have learnt a lot from last week’s loss and on the back of home ground advantage should be able to survive this weekend. Coach Burns is an experienced campaigner in big games and will no doubt have worked particularly hard in rectifying last week’s shortcomings.
In the other semi between Crookwell and Harden at Crookwell on Sunday, the Green Devils will start favourites. Crookwell’s biggest enemy may be the lack of big match competition in recent weeks whilst Harden have had the tough match against the Rovers and will be on a roll. The home ground will be massive for the Green Devils and they should advance to the grand final in two weeks.
Saturday will see three games of League at the Showground with The Boorowa Rovers and the North Canberra Bears being the main attraction set for a 2.45pm start. Prior to this game the league tag will see and elimination final between Crookwell She-Devils and The Boomanulla Raiderettes at 1.30pm. The early game at the Showground on Saturday will be a youth league match between the Tuggeranong Bushrangers and the North Canberra Bears to commence at noon. This should be an entertaining game with the cream of Canberra local junior talent on show. It’s a massive day of league and the last chance to see your Rovers in action of home soil so why not support the lads as they continue their march to the title.