BIRD GANG FLYING INTO TRL FINALS
WITH the first round of the Toowoomba Rugby League finals in the books, Highfields and Valleys have emerged as the big winners.
The Eagles got the job done in scintillating style against Warwick, while a late surge helped the Roosters to ambush Wattles on their home turf.
They’ll now both advance to the next week.
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Valleys Roosters have the chance to play in their third successive TRL grand final.
Coming up against a tough Wattles side, the Roosters were able to prevail 40-16 at Platz Oval on Sunday, setting up a qualifying final showdown with Goondiwindi.
Valleys got the ball rolling after a brilliant piece of play from Dwayne Duncan, intercepting a pass and almost running the length, before handing off to Alex Hinch to score.
Their lead was cut back shortly after however, with rookie winger Jacob Meddleton capitalising on a crossfield kick from Ryan Stevens to score.
A strong burst from Sam Cocker extended the Valleys advantage once again inside 15 minutes, giving Valleys a 12-4 lead they would hold at the break.
The second half started in a similar vein, before former Rooster Stevens was again in the thick of things, grounding a ball just inside the dead ball line to cut the deficit to 12-10.
Wattles hit the front for the first time in the 51st minute with the old firm of Matt Duggan and Ryan Perkins linking to put Ryan Duggan over the line.
Just as the home side looked to have all the momentum, Blake Mara wrestled it back for the Roosters, barging his way over from close range to put his side back in front 18-16.
They extended it soon after with Duncan again forcing questions at the back for the Warriors, allowing Hinch to stroll over for his second and an eight-point lead with less than 15 minutes remaining.
It was fitting that Duncan sealed the game with a try of his own, moving Valleys into the grand final qualifier.
Earlier in the day, Highfields and Valleys engaged in a battle in the lower grades.
The Eagles struck first in the U18s with a 24-16 victory, with Preston Brown scoring a double.
Valleys hit back in reserve grade, prevailing 18-12 and booking a President’s Cup rematch with Gatton.
THE WEEK AHEAD
Wattles will have the chance to bounce back when they host Highfields at Platz Oval.
The two have met twice in 2021, with the Eagles claiming a 28-0 win in round five, before the Warriors hit back in round 16 with a 15-10 win at home.
This weekend will also see the women return to action with four teams vying for the honour of inaugural premiers.
The Chronicle is set to celebrate by looking at the trailblazers of the competition and the 12 most underrated players.
FINALS WEEK TWO
Elimination finals at Platz Oval on Saturday
U18s: Valleys vs Warwick at 2.15pm
Women: Newtown vs Valleys at 3.45pm
Reserves: Highfields vs Wattles at 5pm
A-grade: Wattles vs Highfields at 6.30pm
Qualifying finals at Gilbert Oval on Sunday
U18s: Dalby vs Highfields at 10.15am
Women: Gatton vs Warwick at 11.45am
Reserves: Gatton vs Valleys at 1pm
A-grade: Goondiwindi vs Valleys at 2.30pm