Sub­urbs take Gal­la­her shield by three

Central Leader - - TRADES & SERVICES - HUGH COLLINS AND JACK­SON THOMAS

It’s been twenty-four years be­tween drinks for Sub­urbs.

The West Auck­land club has fi­nally hoisted the Gal­la­her Shield, fol­low­ing a tough 12-9 vic­tory over Orakei’s de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Gram­mar TEC on Satur­day.

Gram­mar TEC coach Joe Snee said the New Lynn side put them un­der a lot of pres­sure, ul­ti­mately prov­ing the dif­fer­ence.

‘‘They kicked well but in the end we just made too many mis­takes,’’ Snee said.

‘‘Well done to Sub­urbs, they de­serve the win.’’

An emo­tional Sub­urbs cap­tain Carl Perry cred­ited his side’s win to their prepa­ra­tion and ‘‘be­ing the ul­ti­mate club team’’.

‘‘Ev­ery­one has put in the hard yards since

Perry said.

‘‘From the coaches, to the man­age­ment, to the old boys, ev­ery­one re­ally dug deep to­day and we had too be­cause they’re a qual­ity side.’’

With two first half trys from an elec­tric Sub­urbs back­line it was first-five Jono Hickey’s boot that kept Gram­mar in the game.

Early in the sec­ond half Hickey nar­rowed the gap to just three but an even split of ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion kept play largely on the halfway mark.

At 70 min­utes it was do-or-die for both sides with the game very much in the bal­ance. But Sub­urbs man­aged to hang tough to claim their first Gal­la­her Shield ti­tle since 1992.

Coach Char­lie McAlis­ter said in the dy­ing min­utes his mes­sage was sim­ple. last Novem­ber,’’

‘‘That last 10 to 15, I was just telling the boys to stay com­posed and stick to our game plan. Be­cause we know what a qual­ity side Gram­mar TEC are. We’re lucky enough to have some key play­ers in key po­si­tions that I think steered us home in the end.’’

He said there wasn’t one key mo­ment that sealed it, in­stead cred­it­ing his side’s abil­ity to play the full 80 as the most pleas­ing as­pect of the win.

Gram­mar TEC al­most didn’t make the fi­nal with the side suf­fer­ing reg­u­lar-sea­son losses to Col­lege Ri­fles and Pon­sonby. But first-five Si­mon Hickey was con­fi­dent his boys would bounce back next sea­son.

‘‘There’s a lot of new faces in this side this year and the boys re­ally built through­out the sea­son. I’m sure we’ll be back next year but full credit to Sub­urbs.’’

PHOTO: PHOTOTEK

Sub­urbs’ cap­tain Carl Perry hoists the Gal­la­her Shield for the first time in 24 years.

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