The NSW Country Cockatoos have registered a comprehensive 35–22 win over NSW Suburban in the opening match of their 2009 representative program.

The match was played as the curtain-raiser to the HSBC Waratahs v Bulls Super 14 match at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday, 11 April.

The Cockatoos scored five tries to three and led the match from the fifth minute when birthday prop Fergus McIntosh finished off a surging raid down the left side of the field to crash over in the corner.

David Kennedy kicked the first of his five conversions to make the score 7-0, and the Cockatoos were on their way to victory.

The Cockatoos’ backline was disrupted when outside centre Heath Riggs sustained a heavy head knock when making a ball-and-all tackle, which resulted in him being replaced by Sam Stewart.

NSW Suburban during the next 10 minutes had the majority of possession, but their attacking raids were met with solid defence and nothing came their way in the form of points.

The Cockatoos weathered the Subbies’ attacks and then went on the front foot to post 14 points in five minutes to skip out to a 21–0 lead.

Hard-running No 8 Mike Te Moana cut a swath through the Subbies’ mid-field defence to run 30 metres to score a try under the crossbar, which was duly converted by David Kennedy.

Five minutes later the Cockatoos’ backline worked a well-executed move from a scrum win, which saw winger David Kennedy go through untouched to scored next to the uprights. His ensuing conversion pushed the score out to 21–0.

The 14-point blitz stirred Subbies into action, and after mounting a series of attacking raids their halfback Adam Ross ran the blind and sold several dummies to defenders to cross for a try.

The try was converted by fullback Josh Bohl, and the score was 21 – 7.

Subbies continued to mount pressure and the Cockatoos were caught offside, which resulted in Josh Bohl kicking a long-range penalty goal to make the score 21–10 at the 32nd-minute mark.

The rest of the half was played out mid-field, and the teams went to the break with the Cockatoos leading 21–10.

The second half saw both teams trying to gain the ascendancy, and in the 58th minute blindside flanker Gavin Holder broke the deadlock for the Cockatoos to score, and David Kennedy’s conversion made the score 28–10.

Subbies at this point came to life and mounted a series of attacking raids which the Cockatoos met head-on, but after doing the hard work the Cockatoos’ defence relaxed in the 67th minute and replacement outside back Chris Sione crossed for a soft try.

The try wasn’t converted and Subbies had pulled the score back to 28-15.

Subbies continued to attack from the restart, but the Cockatoos’ defence was up to the task, and in the 75th minute prop Fergus McIntosh celebrated his birthday with a second try which included a massive sidestep and an impressive dive.

David Kennedy’s conversion took the score out to 35–15 and it looked like this would be the end of the scoring for the night.

Subbies had other ideas, and with less than two minutes on the clock they worked play into the Cockatoos’ 22, where replacement halfback Ben Gordon crossed for a consolation try.

The conversion by Josh Bohl wrapped up the scoring, with the NSW Country Cockatoos running out winners 35–22 over NSW Suburban.

The Cockatoos’ Man of the Match was prop Fergus McIntosh, who celebrated his birthday in fine style by crossing for two tries.

He was well-supported by Cockatoo debutant flanker Ben Colley, No 8 Mike Te Moana, halfback Josh Darby and try-scoring and goalkicking Winger David Kennedy.

The Cockatoos’ next match will be against the ACT and Southern Inland at Eridge Park, Bowral, on Sunday, 3 May.

The match will kick-off at 2pm, and will be preceded by the Country Colts’ match against the ACT and Southern NSW at 12.30pm.

NSW Country Cockatoos 35 (Fergus McIntosh 2, Gavin Holder, David Kennedy, Mike Te Moana tries; David Kennedy 5 conversions) d
NSW Suburban 22 (Ben Gordon, Adam Ross, Chris Sione tries; Josh Bohl 2 conversions, penalty goal).