Cen­trals stay in hunt

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON michael. thomp­son@ news. com. au

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)

PRES­SURE: Cen­trals player Halvor Harris looks to es­cape the Bur­dekin de­fence in their TDRL elim­i­na­tion fi­nal and ( inset) Bur­dekin’s Ryan Devon­port gets an off­load away. Pic­tures: EVAN MOR­GAN

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