By HARRY CLARKE

A WEEK on from their 99-0 shellacking of USQ, the Goondiwindi Emus A-graders have again left their home town scoreboard looking more like one resulting from a cricket one-dayer than a rugby union clash.

In a season favourite rivalry for the two farming towns, Goondiwindi hosted the Condamine Cods in round two of Down Rugby’s Risdon Cup competition.

Emus captain Sam Tweedy commented after the game that the hosts were expecting an aggressive contest with the Cods, who were coming off a near upset of 2020 grand finalists the Toowoomba Rangers last weekend.

It was an aggressive contest indeed, played “in really good spirit” as Cods coach Nathan Bradley said.

But in front of dozens of extra supporters at Riddles Oval (as the Emus celebrated their annual Old Boys Day) the hosts were too strong for the Cods’ gallant effort.

It was only 10-0 to Goondiwindi at half time. In a sign the Emus realised the Cods weren’t backing down easily, they opted to strike for conversion points off two penalties.

Both penalty goal attempts (and a third from the Cods) were unsuccessful, and the half time scoreboard didn’t reflect what had thus far been a neck-and-neck contest.

In wet and soggy conditions the Cods were initially the team more willing to spread the ball. The boot of fly half Jack Hannah delivered good field position for Condamine, while centres combo Ben Geldard and Tom Sutton kept hunting for holes out wide.

Flanker Ben Carmichael was gusty all game in defence against the Emus’ huge forward pack, while props Justin Travers and (captain) Sam Warby also put in plenty of work.

But what might have remained a close game ultimately blew out in the second half. Emus forwards Joel Gilbert, Hugh Oliver and Sam Tweedy were relentless in attack. Number 7 Yoni Meron wouldn’t stop tackling.

The Cods had little choice but come in to defend and the Emus soon found plenty of scoring opportunities in the backline. Outside centre Lachlan Wade bagged a double.

The final score as 48-0.

“We always expect a physical game from Condy and that’s what we got,” Tweedy said.

“We’ve still got plenty to work on and we’re looking to improve but it’s definitely been a good start to the season.

“It was pretty quiet around Gundi last year with no winter sport on (because of Covid), but it’s good to be back, and the supporters seem to be loving it too.”

Cods coach Nathan Bradley said his team wouldn’t be perturbed by the heavy loss.

“Our aim today was to come to compete,” he said.

“When you play against a good side like Goondwindi, after 40 minutes they put you to the sword if you’re not quite there.

“We’re going to away, we’re going to work on it and we’re going to be competitive this year.”

B-grade was a closer game. Goondiwindi overcame the Cods 12-12, while in C-graders beat the Chinchilla River Rats 37-0.

Goondoowindi A-graders celebrate with the traditional axe trophy awarded to the winner of the annual Emus-Cods clash. The trophy is gifted by BurCutter Hayes from Hayes Spraying, which sponsors both clubs.

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