Original plan to play 80 minutes of rugby wouldn’t have won the grand final
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.
City's James Heron takes the ball up against Kuttabul in the rugby union final.
Kuttabul's Joe Ecker gets pulled to the ground by a City player.