22 June, 2022
Panthers take on Bears at McGrane
Christie and Hood Castlereagh League - June 21, 2022
In front of a healthy crowd at McGrane Oval on Saturday, June 18, the Panthers and the Coonamble Bears turned on a highly entertaining game to complete round eight of the Christie and Hood Castlereagh League.
Played under perfect weather conditions,
the Panthers raced to a 10-0 lead in
the opening 10 minutes after Mitch
Bamblett scored in the corner. This was
followed soon after by captain-coach,
Jamie Towney, who forced his way over
next to the sticks from close range to give
Brandon Hammond an easy conversion
The shell-shocked Bears finally
found some rhythm and after a ball was
spilt by the Panthers. Coonamble swooped
on the loose ball, and it was swung
wide to Mark Jones who was too fast for
the Panther defence and he touched
down in canteen corner.
Jake Fernando converted from the
sideline and five minutes later the Bears
took the lead when Fernando crossed
under the posts and converted his own try
to make it 12-10 to the ‘grizzleys’.
The Panthers had a shot at the try line
with three minutes remaining in the first
half and Luke Ritchie latched onto an
inside pass to score and give the Panthers
the lead once again as the hooter sounded
for the break.
Whatever was said in the Coonamble
shed at half-time certainly had the
desired effect, as they blew the Panthers
off the park in the opening minutes.
Fernando scored and converted followed
soon after by Jack Kelly, who
pounced on a Panther mistake to touch
down in the corner. Fernando was having
a great day with the boot and another
sideline conversion had the Bears up 24-
14 midway through the second stanza.
Curtis Carr was injected into the
Panther attack with immediate results
when he scored a brilliant try next to the
DJ Smith converted and closed the
gap to just four points, trailing the Bears
24-20. With 17 minutes left on the clock,
DJ Smith found the tryline for the
Panthers and his conversion had the
Panthers back in front 26-24.
The Bears wouldn’t go away and with
ten minutes to go they pounced on another
Panther mistake and Fernando scored
his third try for the day to wrest the lead
away from the Panthers once again to
have the Bears back in front 28-26.
With the clock rapidly approaching
the 80-minute mark, the Panther fans
were hoping for a miracle and DJ Smith
delivered with a try next to the posts.
He converted and the Panthers were
back in front for the fourth time in the
As the minutes ticked down, the
Bears threw everything they had at the
Panthers. A late rally had the Panthers
defending their own line for the final
Finally, the hooter sounded, and
the Panthers were victorious 32-28 after
a highly entertaining match for all the
Although both sides made plenty of
mistakes, they both played some scintillating
football and the re-match at Bear
park later in the season will be one not to
Anthony Harris and Ashley Hazelton were powerful for the Panthers up front, whilse DJ Smith had a great day at five/eighth, following the big men around scoring two tries and three conversions.
A 10-minute blitz in the first half by
the Coonamble Bearettes set up a victory
for them when they blew the Pinkies
away in the opening minutes of their
clash at McGrane.
The Lady Bears cruised to a 26-0 lead
early in the half to set up their victory,
but just before the half-time bell, Mab
Fuller crossed for the Pinkies and Shian
Chatfield converted to give the Pinkies
some respectability at the break.
Harsh words from co-coach’s Louie
and Wood at the half-time break also had
the desired effect.
The Pinkies launched
a great second half rally with Mab Fuller
touching down for her second try, while
Shian Chatfield scored and converted
both tries to have the Pinkies trailing 26-
18 as the minutes ticked down.
The Pinkies were awarded a penalty
from close range and Chatfield closed
the gap to six points with only a few minutes
left on the clock.
Unfortunately, the Pinkies ran out of
time and the Bear girls took the three
valuable competition points home.
Next Saturday both the Pinkies and
the Panthers hit the road to Baradine as
we reach the halfway point in the competition.
Both teams can expect a rowdy reception
as the Magpies are celebrating their
100th year of rugby league on the day.
The Lady Magpies sit at the top of the
comp at this point, while the Pinkies will
need to turn around their last couple of
outings to stay in touch with the bunch.
The first grade encounter will be a
tough on as always.
The Magpies always
seem to raise up a couple of notches
when they play the Panthers, especially
on their home track.
They will even be more fired up this
Saturday with plenty of old boys back in
town for the celebrations.
Hopefully there will be plenty of
Panther supporters make the journey to
Magpie land to drown out the vocal
home crowd on the day.