Crush­ers break TDRL drought

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

HER­BERT River cel­e­brated a fairy­tale first Townsville and Dis­tricts Rugby League premiership af­ter stun­ning hot favourites Brothers 26-24 in the grand fi­nal.

The Crush­ers pro­duced a re­mark­able turn­around to deny Brothers a hat-trick of pre­mier­ships, hav­ing been thrashed by the mi­nor pre­miers 48-4 in the ma­jor semi-fi­nal.

Her­bert River trailed 18-8 at half­time be­fore con­trol­ling the sec­ond half on the way to scor­ing a de­served win in their first grand fi­nal ap­pear­ance since join­ing the TDRL in 1995.

The full­time siren prompted ju­bi­lant scenes among Her­bert River play­ers and of­fi­cials and the hun­dreds of trav­el­ling sup­port­ers who had given the big grand fi­nal crowd at the Townsville Sports Re­serve a dis­tinctly pro-Crush­ers feel.

It was a stun­ning come­back by the Ing­ham club, who had looked down and out when trail­ing Sharks United 32-16 dur­ing the sec­ond half of the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

Crush­ers co-coaches Kevin Cook and Ja­son Erba paid trib­ute to their play­ers.

‘‘Th­ese boys will go down in his­tory, you can never take that away from them,’’ Cook said.

‘‘We had noth­ing to lose and the boys just got con­fi­dence from the Sharks game and be­lieved in them­selves af­ter that.

‘‘The crowd de­serves a spe­cial men­tion, they lifted us.’’

Her­bert River were sparked barely a minute into the sec­ond half by star five-eighth Michael Rose, whose su­berb in­di­vid­ual try from deep inside his own half proved the cue for the Crush­ers to take con­trol of the match. Erba praised his team’s grit. Her­bert River lost full­back Luke Spina (an­kle in­jury) dur­ing the first half, while hooker and co­cap­tain Kieren Quagliotto, cen­tre Luke Gi­u­di­catti and half­back Mitchell Seri each re­quired painkilling in­jec­tions to get through the match.

‘‘We found spirit we didn’t know we had,’’ Erba said.

‘‘We’re a con­fi­dence team and by keep­ing close to Brothers all day I think our con­fi­dence started to grow, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half with the big wind.’’

7 IN THE SPOT­LIGHT . . . the Crush­ers af­ter their grand fi­nal win

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