Suburbs take Gallaher shield by three
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
‘‘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.’’
Suburbs’ captain Carl Perry hoists the Gallaher Shield for the first time in 24 years.