Temora captain-coach Grant Boyd had more on his mind than the Group Nine finals after the Dragons overwhelmed Cootamundra 30-10 at Les Boyd Oval on Saturday.
As Temora prepares for the intimidating mission of securing fifth spot, Boyd will be wrestling with his own personal dilemma.
In a surprise development, Boyd revealed on Saturday he is toying with the real prospect of ending his celebrated career.
“Hopefully (I’ll) retire,” Boyd said.
“I’m getting older, losing my pace and I wake up sore.
“I don’t know yet, but I’m not going to coach.
“It’s too hard work especially with a little family.”
With Boyd’s announcement coming as Temora stayed in the queue for an unlikely finals appearance, the pressure will be on the Dragons to deliver a special parting gift.
However, with four rounds to go, including the bye, the Dragons are facing a monumental uphill struggle, a fact not lost on the skipper.
“I suppose every win is a step closer, but I know we’ve got Young, Southcity and Gundi (to finish),” Boyd said.
“At least it’s kept us in there for another few weeks anyway.”
On a day when both teams were “short” on personnel, Temora led from start to finish, but hardly set the world on fire.
The Dragons scored two tries to one in the first half to lead 8-4 at halftime before sealing the Bulldogs fate with four tries in the second term.
“It was a pretty bad game, scrappy game,” Boyd said.
“Coota played well.
“We’re just struggling numbers ... that’s the biggest part.
“The boys all put their hands up and had a go.”
And leading the charge with an inspirational performance was Temora lock Hayden Philp.
The hard running forward scored a sweet try in the 10th minute and made a 30 metre bust to set up rookie Jack Goode for a try in the 42nd minute.
In between times, Philp caused Cootamundra headaches with his relentless charges and also racked up 40-odd tackles.
“That’s the best I‘ve seen him (Philp) play this year,” Boyd said.
“He’s a gun.”
Philp’s display was an absolute gem and he was clearly the difference between the teams.
Although never headed, the Dragons were under siege at times.
Down 4-0 following Philp’s try, Cootamundra narrowly missed scoring three times before Boyd offloaded for Matt Hughes to grab a try in the 33rd minute.
The spell was broken when Cootamundra centre James Howse crossed just before halftime, significantly off a pass from coach Warren Lloyd.
After three months out with a torn pectoral muscle, Lloyd made a “one-off” appearance on Saturday, slotting in to replace suspended Liam Duffy.
“I’m not back,” Lloyd said.
“We were just short today.
“I won’t be playing again (this year).”
As gallant as they were in the first half, the Bulldogs ran out of steam and Temora roared away.