Orig­i­nal plan to play 80 min­utes of rugby wouldn’t have won the grand fi­nal

Daily Mercury - - SPORT -

THE ri­valry be­tween Mackay City Red­men and Kut­tabul Camel­boks has only strength­ened af­ter this year’s ex­tra time grand fi­nal.

When the full time whis­tle blew at BBPrint sta­dium, both teams were locked at 30-30, and it was only bro­ken af­ter Camel­boks’ Pe­ter Ford found a gap through the line and cross with one minute left in ex­tra time.

The Red­men must be left ask­ing them­selves what could have been af­ter a mas­sive penalty count against them in the sec­ond half and at one stage play­ing with only 13 men on the field.

Af­ter the game Camel­boks’ coach Craig Oliver couldn’t have enough praise for his op­po­si­tion and the ri­valry the two teams share.

”We have pre­sented the scep­ti­cal any­way (win or lose),” he said to his op­pos­ing coach at full time. (We’ve de­liv­ered) what peo­ple have come to see.”

But he said that Kut­tabul’s game plan was not to play an ex­tra 20 min­utes.

”We had a full bench to­day and we needed it,” he said.

De­spite the Red­men spend­ing most of the last 20 min­utes of reg­u­lar time in their own half, they man­aged to hang on to a slim five-point lead. A field goal from Aaron Barba gave City some breath­ing space with only a few min­utes to go, and it looked like they were go­ing to walk away with the sil­ver­ware.

But as the dy­ing min­utes played out Kut­tabul fought back. Shaun Kat­ten­berg broke through the de­fence, but was tack­led in goal and dropped the ball. The dis­ap­point­ment was short lived how­ever when Liki Ta­u­fa­hema crossed the line min­utes later giv­ing Camel­boks a slim chance.

On the next at­tack they took that chance af­ter a penalty was awarded right in front of the sticks about 20 me­tres out.

The game was tied 30 a piece when the full time whis­tle blew. There might have been points piled on just be­fore half time, but that all changed in ex­tra time when the dead­lock wasn’t bro­ken un­til Ford broke through a de­ter­mined de­fence with only a minute left in ex­tra time to seal the premier­ship.

The fi­nal score was 30-37 af­ter Leka Soane con­verted. Red­men’s coach Bruce Hegg said it was a “cracker of a game”. “We got up last year very nar­rowly against the same side. They de­served their win,” he said.

PHOTO: TONY MARTIN

City's James Heron takes the ball up against Kut­tabul in the rugby union fi­nal.

PHOTO: TONY MARTIN

Kut­tabul's Joe Ecker gets pulled to the ground by a City player.

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