High-class five-eighth Cory McGrady was Player of the Match after scoring a superb try in the 43rd minute and converting to seal Toowoomba Clydesdales back-to-back grand final victories over Sunshine Coast Falcons in the QRL Central Region 50th Anniversary 47th Battalion at Salter Oval Bundaberg on Sunday.
With the match in the balance, he stretched their lead to 10 points with six minutes remaining, and while the Falcons got back to within a try with their pivot David Oakes scoring with 1:26 left on the clock and adding the extras, and the Coast had one last gasp long-range attacking raid, they were beaten by the bell and the Clydesdale hung on to triumph 20-16 in a classical match.
Clydesdales winger David Armstrong took out the coveted Player of the Carnival award, and he was also named in the Merit Team, along with three team-mates, centre Dwayne Duncan, tough as teak stalwart front rower and inspirational captain Xavier Manley, and powerhouse second rower Hinaloan Budden, while the Falcons had three players chosen, Melino Fineanganofo, halfback Jack Just, and front rower Rowan Jardine.
The Falcons side included Bundaberg Shalom College product Jake Egan, who came off the bench and made a real impact in the second half after being among their try scorers in their second match on Saturday.
Bundaberg Bears, who bowed out of contention with an 18-6 first-round loss to South West Mustangs on Saturday, before bouncing back with a 16-0 win over Gladstone Raiders in the afternoon, gained some consolation when they defeated Wide Bay Rangers 22-20 in a pulsating Plate Final, on the back of centre Layton Chambers scoring the first two tries of the match, despite fielding a bare 15 players for the game and being reduced to 14 before half-time.
The Bears were forced to come from behind with the Rangers staging a stirring second-half fightback to take the lead 20-18 with 11:28 on the clock, and it was not until, with 12 men with one sent off, Bears winger Matt Ross scored late that they regained the lead.
Still, the Rangers refused to surrender, and they had chances to kick to equalise when awarded two penalties in the last two minutes, but they took the tap instead on both occasions but could not break through, and the Bears hung on by the skin of their teeth.
Bears veteran lock Josh Tanner, 35, who has competed at just about every Battalion Carnival since making his debut at the age of 19, was Player of the Final and was also rewarded with a place in the Merit team, while the Rangers had two players to achieve the honour, both of whom were absolutely outstanding, South Kolan Sharks centre Darren Broome and former Bundaberg junior star Gayndah five-eighth Zac Dann.
Bears coach Dave Pearce praised a “gutsy effort from the whole team especially with 12 men for the last eight minutes and especially after losing captain Kevin Sherriff with a fractured cheek bone in our first game on Saturday and the four Hervey Bay players did not turn up for the final”.
“My main objective was getting so many young players playing at this level of football with the experienced guys and we certainly did that with the likes of Chris Robinson, Bailey Robertson, Brendan Stewart, Royce Blair, Lachlan Patterson, Marcus Tanner and Jensen Deamer all playing their first Battalion carnivals and all doing brilliantly,” Dave said.
Meanwhile, Western Mustangs claimed an historic maiden 47th Battalion Women’s crown by winning their four round-robin matches.
The Mustangs started on Saturday with wins over the Falcons 24-14 and Rockhampton Rustlers 30-4, before wrapping up the title with wins on Sunday over Gladstone Raidettes 42-0 with doubles to fullback Courtney Robinson and winger Tenesha Trunks, and Central Highlands 36-4.
Exciting Halfback Emily Young picked up two Player of the Match awards, but she was beaten for the Women’s Player of Carnival gong by team-mate and fullback Courtney Robinson, while that dynamic duo were chosen in the Carnival Merit Team, along with four other Mustangs, winger Tenesha Trunks, enterprising hooker Elle Bowden-Betts, and workaholic back rowers Katelyn Anderson and Traevonnah Fisher.
Grand finals: TOOWOOMBA CLYDESDALES 20 (Dwayne Duncan, Dylan Chown, Craig Donn, Cory McGrady tries; Cory McGrady 2 goals) d SUNSHINE COAST FALCONS 16 (Walter Lauenstein, Melino Fineanganofo, David Oakes tries; David Oakes 2 goals). Player of Final: Corey McGrady.
Plate final: BUNDABERG BEARS 22 (Layton Chambers 2, Lachlan Patterson, Matthew Ross tries; Caleb Tull 3 goals) d WIDE BAY RANGERS 20 (Darren Broome 2, Zac Dann, Mark Fisher tries; Zac Dann 2 goals). Player of Final: Joshua Tanner.
MERIT TEAM MEN: 1 Darren Broome (Wide Bay), 2 David Armstrong (Toowoomba), 3 Melino Fineanganofo (SC), 4 Dwayne Duncan (Toowoomba), 5 Brandon Roberts (Rockhampton), 6 Zac Dann (Wide Bay), 7 Jack Just (Sunshine Coast), 8 Xavier Manley (Toowoomba), 9 Jack Pattie (Rockhampton), 10 Rowan Jardine (Sunshine Coast), 11 Hinaloan Budden (Toowoomba), 12 Jude Dwyer (Gladstone), 13 Josh Tanner (Bundaberg).
Unbeaten minor premiers Across The Waves Eagles will meet Hervey Bay Bombers in the AFL Wide Bay Takalvan’s Women’s Premiership grand final at the Bay this Saturday after being untroubled in defeating fourth-placed hosts Gympie Cats 5.13 (43) to 1.2 (8) with five individual goal kickers in the semi-finals on the weekend.
The Bombers booked their place with a 3.3 (21) to 1.2 (8) dispatch of Power in the all-Hervey Bay other semi.
But the Eagles have got work to do in their Marquis Macadamias Senior Premiership defence after losing to the Power 7.12 (54) to 2.5 (17) at the Bay on Friday night after having been blown away by the Bombers in their season opener a fortnight earlier.
Four-times defending champions All Black took the outright lead on the Bundaberg Division 1 Men’s ladder with a 4-2 victory over Raiders/Rovers with four individual goal scorers at Hinkler Park on Saturday.
Arch-rivals Waves Cities had also been unbeaten going into the weekend, but they forfeited their match against Arrows/Athletics.
Reigning champions Waves Gold stamped themselves as clearly the team to beat in the Bundaberg Warren Family Homes Division 1 Premiership with a big 52-30 victory over the previously unbeaten Fusion Solomons at the Super Park on Saturday.
In other matches, Brothers Hurricanes bounced back at Natives Magpies’ expense 41-28, and Alloway trumped Waves 34-23 in the all-Blue showdown.
Here are all the results:
AFL WIDE BAY
MARQUIS MACADAMIAS SENIORS
Bay Power 2.2, 4.5, 6.9, 7.12 (54) d Across The Waves 0.1, 1.2, 2.5, 2.5 (17).
BAY POWER – Goal Kickers: J. Wheeler 2, M. Saunders 2, T. Burch, J. Stothard, M. Schlein. Best Players: L. Smith, R. Mason, D. Alexander, J. Stothard, N. Firth-Meldrum, M. Saunders
ACROSS THE WAVES – Goal Kickers: Jason Bethune. Best Players: Michael Blair, Jayden Welsh, Tyson Jater, Josh Hayhoe, Codey Enever, Damien McRae
Brothers Bulldogs 2.1, 7.4, 8.5, 9.5 (59) d Maryborough 0.1, 1.2, 2.4, 3.4 (22).
BROTHERS BULLDOGS – Goal Kickers: Tristan Taylor 2, Dylan Keam, Anthony Garland, Paul Timms, Tyler Elworthy, Josh Wilkinson, Mitch Parsons, Jonathan Hosford. Best Players: Harry Hodgson, Reg Stephens, Mitch Parsons, Zak Mercieca, Paul Timms, Josh Wilkinson
MARYBOROUGH – Goal Kickers: Z. Brunton, S. Jeal, B. McCracken. Best Players: K. Hyndman, L. Beetham, L. Sharman, J. Sharman, T. Lewis, M. Walsh
Hervey Bay Bombers Black 4.4 (28) d Hervey Bay Bombers Red 2.2 (14).
TAKALVAN’S WOMEN’S PREMIERSHIP
Across The Waves 1.5, 1.10, 3.11, 5.13 (43) d Gympie Cats 0.0, 0.1, 0.1, 1.2 (8).
ACROSS THE WAVES – Goal Kickers: Kelly Blair, Kirstyn Abbott, Hayley Gash, Taylor Jardine, Kayla Osborn
GYMPIE CATS – Goal Kickers: J. Johns
Hervey Bay Bombers 1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 3.3 (21) d Bay Power 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 1.2 (8).
FOOTBALL WIDE BAY NORTH
GIN GIN 4 d BROTHERS-ASTON VILLA VILLAINS 1 (Zedd Peters).
BARGARA 3 (Flynn Schiffke 2, Zayden Busby) d BAV VILLAINS 2 (Zedd Peters 2); ATW HAMMERS 4 (Ben Hick 3, Cayden Raines) d UPE 0.
Raiders Rover 5 (Levi Kendall 2, Courtney Kendall 3) defeated All Blacks 0
Waves Cities 2 (Sophie Aitkenhead 2) defeated Arrows Athletics 1 (Eddie Rayner 1)
Raiders Rover 4 (Riley Simpson 1, Levi Kendall 1, Mitchell Figallo 1, Ellena Crow 1) defeated All Blacks (Chloe McDonald 1)
Waves Cities 7 (Connor Castelli 1, Ava McCaig 1, Thomas Rach 1, Indianah Fiddock 4) defeated Arrows Athletics 2 (Tully Dorgan 1, River-Lee Rayner 1)
All Blacks 10 (Thomas Chadwick 1, Kalen Wilke 1, Isaac Wales 4, Tim Wales 4) defeated Raiders Rovers 1 (Emma Kendall 1)
Arrows Athletics 3 (Liam Taske 1, Jake McCaig 2) defeated Waves Cities 1 (Sam Aitkenhead)
Div 2 Women
Game forfeited by All Blacks when versing Raiders Rovers – Raiders Rovers win
Game forfeited by Arrows Athletics when versing Waves Cities – Waves Cities win
Div 1 Women
Game forfeited by All Blacks when versing Raiders Rovers – Raiders Rovers win
Div 2 Men
Arrows Athletics 5 (David Wenban 1, Jake McCaig 1, Ben Smith 1, Harry Gardiner 2) defeated Waves Cities1 (Ethan Rach 1)
Div 1 Men
All Blacks 4 (Nathan McGill 1, Dale Veivers 1, Tristan Turner 1, Isaac Wales 1) defeated Raiders Rovers 2 (Harrison Lassig 1, Colby Zahn 1)
Game forfeited by Waves Cities when versing Arrows Athletics – Arrows Athletics win
WARREN FAMILY HOMES DIVISION 1 PREMIERSHIP
WAVES GOLD 52 d FUSION SOLOMONS 30; BROTHERS HURRICANES 41 d NATIVES MAGPIES 28; ALLOWAY BLUE 34 d WAVES BLUE 23.
ALLOWAY RED 40 d NATIVES EAGLES 27; FUSION OCRETE 55 d NATIVES SWANS 32; WAVES RED 49 d ALLOWAY WHITE 26; BROTHERS CYCLONES 36 d WAVES PURPLE 28.
BROTHERS THUNDER 34 d NATIVES ROSELLAS 20; WAVES ROYALS 35 d BROTHERS LIGHTNING 12.
NATIVES PARROTS 50 d BROTHERS MONSOONS 27; ALLOWAY YELLOW 46 d WAVES AQUA 20.
NATIVES KOOKABURRAS 28 d WAVES PINK 22; FUSION MAGIC SULTANS 21 d NATIVES FIREBIRDS 14; BROTHERS TWISTERS 54 d ALLOWAY MAROON 7.
NATIVES PEACOCKS 44 d BROTHERS STORM 30; ALLOWAY GREEN 48 d WAVES SAPPHIRES 32; FUSION PRECISION 34 d WAVES SILVER 32.
ALLOWAY AQUA 48 d NATIVES LORIKEETS 18; BROTHERS WILDFIRES 71 d WAVES DIAMONDS 3.
BROTHERS TYPHOONS 23 drew FUSION DANS AUTO ELITE 23; BROTHERS WHIRLWINDS 31 d ALLOWAY EMERALDS 13.
BROTHERS VOLCANOES 19 d ALLOWAY PURPLE 18; NATIVES KINGFISHERS 35 d WAVES MAROON 2.
FUSION SANDHILLS 37 d ALLOWAY GOLD 1; BROTHERS TORNADOES 15 d WAVES TEAL 7.
FUSION FORCE 51 d ALLOWAY LAVENDER 11; BROTHERS AVALANCHES 32 d NATIVES HAWKS 3.