Rugby league grand final action
Central Highlands competition was tightly contested
WOMEN’S FINAL: EMERALD COWGIRLS VERSE BLACKWATER CRUSHERS THE women’s game started with both teams attacking and Cowgirls Deborah Barchard and Catlin Saunders were hitting it up and putting pressure on the Crushettes.
They were tackling low on the front rowers and halting their go forward.
Lauren Pingel and Tashia Anthony were taking the ball forward with Zoe Mackay and Annedel Dargin in the backs.
Brooke Slatter at fullback took all the bombs and was damaging in bringing the ball back into play. Tasma Vesey was leading the Crushettes but was running the ball more and was threatening on each run.
Rebecca Stokes for the Cowgirls showed her team around which gave them direction and Kailah Rogers was also directing traffic and running and kicking the ball.
Neither side could get on top until the 13th minute and Crushettes Miranda Davidson passed to Vesey and she ran 20 metres to start the score for the day. Converted by Mackay. 6-0.
After seventeen minutes, Cowgirls half Stokes threw a long pass to Elle Stitt who then ran on to score and it was converted by Rogers. 6-6.
After good field positioning in the 22nd minute, Stokes once again offloaded to Saunders and she barged over the opposition to score a try which was converted by Rogers and Cowgirls lead 12-6.
Crushers hooker Davidson was working hard looking for holes in the defence.
In the 32nd minute Crushers centre Mackay barged over from dummy half and converted it for the half time score to be at 12-12.
What a close game. Crushers were stopping the damaging forwards for the Cowgirls and Crushers coach Trent White had plenty of rotation for his players. The Cowgirls were light on the bench.
The second started with both determined to win and Tashia Anthony and Vicky Tanirau hitting the ball up. Crushers backline started running and the ball went right through the hands to Finlay on the outside and she was over for a Cowgirls try, 12-16. Could they hold on?
Cowgirls Barchard was trying hard for her but was unable to break the line.
Crushettes two centres Denise Chaplain and Naomi Zonca were strong in defence and running the ball and Zonca scored a great running try after finding a hole in the cowgirls defence and she scooted away to score and the score was back to 16-16.
The game went backwards and forwards and it rained during the game and ball control was a must.
Shae Borg and Kyla Smith were taking relief hit ups for the Cowgirls. Karliegh Banks and Sam Evans came off the bench and helped the Crushettes go forward.
But in the 32nd minute Crushettes Captain Davidson ran the ball from dummy half which she had hardly done all game and she sprinted 30 metres through the defence and she was over for a try.
It was converted by Mackay. The Crushettes kept the pressure on and they won the Premiers trophy 22-16. Crushettes Brooke Slatter was the player of the match. Congratulations to both sides for a great game of football.
MEN’S FINAL: BLUFF RABBITIOHS VERSE BLACKWATER CRUSHERS
IT WAS a rain affected game and ball control came into effect. Bluff came out the blocks with Billy Byrnes and Leigh Coghill leading the charge. Both players worked hard all game. Peter McLaughlin and Mitch Wyatte were controlling the attack. Wyatte had a great kicking game and made plenty of ground. His kicking was proving the difference in the first half.
Dan Tanner and Jacob Ford were hitting the ball up for the Crushers and Josh Tanner was directing the traffic.
After four minutes the ball went out the back line and Rabbitohs Chris Conway was in the corner for a try. Mitchell Power kicked the goal from the sideline and the score was 6-0.
Crushers backrower Jai Ingram and Michael Morrissey were running the ball wide.
Justin Daniels and Trent Hooper for the Rabbits were making their mark at front row and the Rabbits looked the goods. After 13 minutes, five eight Wyatte drew and passed to Blake Vesey on the wing and he was over for a try. Good work and goal kicker Mitch Power was on target and the rabbits lead 12-0.
The wet weather was affecting both teams, but Bluff had better ball control. Centres Chris MacKay and Ryan O’Donoghue were strong in defence. Crushers Kevin Bartley was the workaholic for his team wanting to take the ball forward.
It was a fierce contest. The second half in the fourth minute, it started with both teams keen and Crushers Josh Tanner kicked the ball through and Jai Ingram regathered the ball and he ran in for a try. It was converted by Shae Cox and the score was 12-6.
Bluff were struggling with ball possession and not completing their sets of six. Crushers kept attacking with Dwayne Parson and Dion Callanan in the centre positions passing it onto Andrew McGregor and Sterling Broadhurst. In the 11th minute Josh Tanner kicked through and regathered and he ran through the line and scored. Once again Shae Cox converted. 12-12.
Bluff were getting frustrated and Crushers were getting stronger in confidence thinking they have a good chance to win. Dan Tanner was leading the charge settling play.
The ball went out the back line to Dwayne Parsons and he passed inside for fullback Shae Cox to collect and he stepped his way through and registered his first try and he converted to lead 18-16.
Bluff’s Ethan McLaughlin and Isiah Conway came off the bench and made an impact keeping the team going forward. Crushers in the 19th minute made an error and the ball was regathered by Bluff and it went through the hands onto Chris McKay who scored out wide.
It wasn’t converted, and Crushers still lead 18-16.
In the 27th minute Crushers were on a go forward and the ball was passed along the backline and Shae Cox received the ball back on the inside and found a hole in the defence and he ran through and scored the last try for Crushers to lead after Cox converted 24-16.
With 12 minutes left both sides were trying to break each other’s defence.
Crushers kept stopping Bluffs attacking raids and they held on to win a CHRL Premiership 24-16 and Crushers Josh Tanner was the man of the match. Bluff’s Peter McLaughlin was Bluff’s best player.
Well done to both teams for their effort. Thank you to the supports from all the clubs on the day. Thanks to Bluff RLFC for hosting the day. Thanks for reading my column each week.