Boggabri showed some promising signs but were cruelled by their ill-discipline in their Second Division season opener against Dungowan on Saturday.
The Kangaroos were forced to play the second half a man down after Jake Gillham was sent-off for tripping in the final play of the first half, and ultimately went down 32-10.
The damage was done either side of half-time with the Cowboys scoring after the half-time hooter and then inside the first minute of the second half as the Roos went from a 12-4 down to staring at a 20-point deficit.
Proud of his side’s effort and the way they kept fighting, coach David Harris said discipline was the biggest killer for them, especially in the first half.
The Cowboys are a side that they always seem to have trouble with and they gave away far too many penalties for Harris’ liking.
“I thought our second 40 we played a lot better and a lot smarter, even down a man,” he said.
“Once we started playing a bit smarter we got back to what we’d trained.”
They showed some good glimpses in attack and had periods where they had the Cowboys under pressure.
“We just defended too much,” Harris said.
Generally it was good, the Cowboys scoring “two or three pretty lucky tries.”
Their first was one of those, with the ball coming loose as the Roos tried to work their way out of their half and Lochie Collins grubbering it through.
The Kangaroos hit back through Robert Jones, the half-back showing good strength to force his way through the Cowboys defence close to the line, and held the home side to two points until around 13 minutes to go in the first half.
Harris said that try right on half-time did deflate them.
“Their heads were down,” he said.
“But the boys always put in and kept fighting.”
Harris added they have probably got to get a bit fitter.
“We struggle because the majority of our club are shift workers,” he said. Even on Saturday, a couple of Boggabri’s players had to drive straight back to work the night shift.
Harris thought young fullback Brendan Gillham, who was the Kangaroos other try-scorer after a break from Jones, was brilliant.
Also playing his first senior game for them Aaron Hobden was good on the wing, while Jayde Campbell had a strong game at hooker.
“It was his first game at hooker and he played 80 minutes,” he said.
He usually plays in the halves or centres.
Harris said they have probably got eight to 10 new faces this season.