It was a red-letter night for captain Luca Felesina, leading his two Ankle Bullies teams to Bundaberg Touch Football Association grand final victories against QNZLDer 9-4 in the Men’s Division, and 10-7 in Mixed Division 1 at Greg Duncan Fields.
The Ankle Bullies’ youthful Men’s side, who were run-away minor premiers after losing just one game for the season, made it back-to-back titles after also defeating QNZLDer 7-4 in last year’s decider, with Luca bagging a double also for a second year in a row, with also two touchdowns each to one of their young guns Tyler Ash and Cooper Mortensen.
Tyler came to the fore with a first-half double as they put them stamp on the game, establishing a 5-2 lead at the break, before going right on with the job.
Despite Luca, Tyler, and Cooper’s heroics, QNZLDer doyen and Queensland representative ace Blake Hornbrook, who also notched a double, was outstanding in a beaten side and he took out the Player of the Final award.
Another exciting young talent, Noah Klowss, of Bundy Renegades, was awarded the Men’s Season Best and Fairest.
Earlier in the afternoon, Ankle Bullies completed a perfect season in Mixed Division 1, notching their 13th win from as many matches, with Cooper Mortensen leading the scoring with a hat-trick, and doubles to Will Hamilton, who was a member of the Under-18 Central Queensland Bulls team which won the National Touch Youth Championships in October, Trey Hubert, and Oliver Moreny.
Luke Griffin drew first blood for QNZLDer, and he had three in the first stanza, but Ankle Bullies edged ahead 5-4, and added another five in the second half.
Luke, who finished with four tries, received some consolation when he took out the Mixed Division 1 Player of the Final, while Blake Hornbrook also led that side and also snared a double.
The highly professional Luca received another accolade when he was crowned the Mixed Division 1 Male Season Best and Fairest for the second year in a row, while Taylor Driver, of B-Transformed, was the Female Season Best and Fairest for the division.
Four players featured in both Ankle Bullies’ triumphs – Luca, Cooper, Trey And Oliver, while Will played for Ankle Bullies’ Mixed machine but QNZLDer’s Men.
For Ankle Bullies Men’s oldest player, Paul Mason, it was his second premiership for the day, after earlier scoring as Hot Crab chalked up another Masters Division 2 title with a 6-4 despatch of Gummies.
With their day’s hauls, the two Ankle Bulls’ sides both topped the magical three-figures touchdowns mark for the season, with the Mixed team amassing 102 and their Men 100 neat.
Will Hamilton was a deserved recipient of the 2021 Junior Representative Player of the Year.
Also, after losing only one game all season, Weekes Property claimed the Women’s crown with Candice Higgins notching a double in a 6-2 victory over All Stars, but she was shaded by team-mate Monique Larsen for the Player of the Final.
Weekes Property had been pipped 4-3 as Shalom College PRD completed five straight titles in last year’s Season 2 decider, when Candice was Player of the Final in a losing side, but Shalom did not compete this season.
Bridget Woodman, of Footloose, was a popular winner of the Women’s Season Best and Fairest.
Candice also received the Jakey Award, which is presented annually in honour of the late Steve Jacobsen for all-round excellence.
NADS ran away to an 8-5 triumph over Spartans in Masters Division 1 after scores had been locked together at 4-all at oranges.
Long-time touch champions Matthew Churchill, Jim Geiger, and Craig Holden shared the spoils with two tries each, but another life-time star Nathan “Jack” Russo, who also touched down once, was the Player of the Final.
NADS also finished their campaign with a solitary loss.
Chris Norris, who was among Spartans’ scorers, received the gong as the Season Best and Fairest for the Division.
Hot Crab’s Kale Johnson was the Masters Division 2 Player of the Final, despite a double to team-mate Adam Lovett, while Dion Fatiaki, who was among the touchdowns for Gummies, was the Divisional Season Best and Fairest.
Matthew Churchill also savoured two premierships, doubling up to play together with his children Fletcher and Alexandra in the Grasshoppers outfit which continued their domination of Mixed Division 2, overpowering Guns and Posers 9-2.
That team also included three other family combinations, another association icon Michael Pimm and his wife Gail and son Riley, and siblings Jimmy and Charlie Gear, and Cooper and Sienna Nugent.
Cooper picked up the Player of the Final with three tries in a signature polished all-round performance, and he also snared the Male Season Best and Fairest, with the Female Season Best going to Guns and Posers’ Illyria Chapman.
The Ankle Bullies’ B team also contested the Mixed Division 3 grand finale, but they had to play second fiddle to Bundaberg Christian College (BCC), who overcame a 4-3 deficit at the break to draw away 11-8 on the back of four second-half strikes to Cornelis Van der Merwe, who also took home the Male Season Best and Fairest for the division.
But Ankle Bullies’ Jenna Mason, who also racked up four, was acknowledged as the Player of the Final.
BCC had three other multiple scorers in an historic premiership, Charles Hibbard, who crossed three times, and Ben Cathie and Cooper Stevens, with t6wo each, while another of their stars, Ebony Winkler, clinched the Female Season Best and Fairest.
The Association’s other 2021 major awards were shared between Bronwyn Bonser (Club Person of the Season), Deegan Young (Referee of the Season), and dynamic all-rounder Jude Bust (Senior Representative Player of the Year).
Men: Ankle Bullies 9 (Tyler Ash 2, Luca Felesina 2, Cooper Mortensen 2, Trey Hubert, Joshua Pole, Lachlan Runge) d QNZLDer 4 (Blake Hornbrook 2, Riley Earnshaw, Rowan Mitchell). Player of the Final – Blake Hornbrook (QNZLDer); Season Best and Fairest – Noah Klowss (Bundy Renegades).
Women: Weekes Property Co 6 (Candice Higgins 2, Brittany Edwards, Shania Kleidon, Monique Larsen, Rosemary Pimm) d All Stars 2 (Sarah Bugeja, Riley Dingle). Player of the Final – Monique Larsen (Weekes Property Co); Season Best and Fairest – Bridget Woodman (Footloose).
Mixed Division 1: Ankle Bullies 10 (Cooper Mortensen 3, Will Hamilton 2, Trey Hubert 2, Oliver Moreny 2, Karrie Hills) d QNZLDer Div 1 7 (Luke Griffin 4, Blake Hornbrook 2, Nathan Harvey). Player of the Final – Luke Griffin (QNZLDer); Season Best and Fairest – Female – Taylor Driver (B-Transformed), Male – Luca Felesina (Ankle Bullies).
Mixed Division 2: Grasshoppers 9 (Cooper Nugent 3, Fletcher Churchill, Matthew Churchill, Jesse Hoger, Ali Kersnovske, Sienna Nugent, Gail Pimm) d Guns & Posers 2 (Kale Johnson, David Andreoli). Player of the Final – Cooper Nugent (Grasshoppers); Season Best and Fairest – Female – Illyria Chapman (Guns and Posers), Male – Cooper Nugent (Grasshoppers).
Mixed Division 3: Bundaberg Christian College 11 (Cornelis Van der Merwe 4, Charles Hibbard 3, Ben Cathie 2, Cooper Stevens 2) d Ankle Bullies B 8 (Jenna Mason 4, Koby Lister 2, Sarah Nash, Hamish Young). Player of the Final – Jenna Mason (Ankle Bullies); Season Best and Fairest – Female – Ebony Winkler (BCC), Male – Cornelis Van der Merwe (BCC).
Masters Division 1: NADS 8 (Matthew Churchill 2, Jim Geiger 2, Craig Holden 2, Anthony McLucas, Nathan Russo) d Spartans 5 (Jack Rowan 2, Adam Lucke, Chris Norris, Jack Rahaley). Player of the Final – Nathan Russo (NADS); Season Best and Fairest – Chris Norris (Spartans).
Masters Division 2: Hot Crab 6 (Adam Lovett 2, Tony Gaze, Kale Johnson, Paul Mason, Lindsay Medley) d Gummies 4 (Darren Scheuer 2, Dion Fatiaki, Michael Pimm). Player of the Final – Kale Johnson (Hot Crab); Season Best and Fairest – Dion Fatiaki (Gummies).
Bundaberg Touch Club Awards: Jakey Award – Candice Higgins; 2021 Club Person of the Season – Bronwyn Bonser; 2021 Referee of the Season – Deegan Young; 2021 Junior Representative Player of the Year – Will Hamilton; 2021 Senior Representative Player of the Year – Jude Bust.