Centrals stay in hunt
CENTRALS have kept their finals hopes alive after beating Burdekin 34- 12 in yesterday’s TDRL elimination final.
The Tigers will play Brothers this weekend after Herbert River beat the Brethren 18- 16 in yesterday’s dramatic qualifying final, while Herbert River take on minor premiers Western Lions for direct entry to the grand final.
Brothers had the chance to level scores just a minute before full- time with a penalty goal attempt 25m out, although young winger Gresham Ross sprayed his kick to leave Herbert River with a hard- fought win.
The going was just as tough for Centrals, who surged to an 18- 6 halftime lead thanks to tries from Halvor Harris, Wes Barrie and Christian Power, only for Burdekin to come out firing in the second.
The Roosters were rewarded when five- eighth Isack Toby pounced on a fortunate bounce in the in- goal, and all the running was with Burdekin as they searched tirelessly for an equaliser.
They came close when halfback Jordan Bien found a 40/ 20, only for Burdekin to spill the ball on the fourth tackle.
The game ebbed and flowed until Centrals’ Nathan Traill surged over Burdekin’s tryline with 14 minutes remaining. And Traill was in again shortly afterwards when he caught a well- placed crosskick from James Redman, making it 28- 12.
Power scored his second with full- time looming, running on to Redman’s offload in open space to blow out the final score.
“We were under the pump for at least the first 25 minutes in the second half,” Centrals coach Matt Green said. “But that’s a credit to our boys for hanging in there and then finishing over the top of them.
“Our first half definitely set it all up. It was one of our better halves of the year. We’ll just have to see how a couple of injuries pull up, rest up and get ready for next weekend.”
The biggest injury concern is for Centrals second rower George Moananu, who suffered a suspected hand fracture, although Green said his side had enough depth to cover losses. “George might be all right,” he said. “It’s sudden death every week now, so every game could be the last and we just have to make the most of it.”
Burdekin coach Cameron Miller said his young side deserved to be proud of its season.
“We had expectations to go further, but the boys did well and the attitude was outstanding,” he said. “We were confident after halftime and we didn’t give up, but full credit to Centrals for being better on the day. They might surprise a couple sides over the next few weeks.
“We lacked a little bit in experience but I think they’ll learn from this and come back a better side.” TDRL finals. Week one. Under- 18s: Charters Towers 20 def Centrals 12
Reserves: Brothers 23 def Centrals 22; Burdekin 18 def Western Lions 16
A grade: Centrals 34 ( N Traill 2, C Power 2, W Barrie, H Harris; T McCagh goals 5); Burdekin 12 ( I Toby, J Bien; goals Toby 2); Herbert River 18 ( T Menegon, D Gaggiano, B Stanford; M Seri 3 goals) Brothers 16 ( T Carruci 2, R Gresham; Ross 2 goals)