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GATTON will take on Souths for the first spot in the grand final after a gutsy come-from-behind 28-22 in over Wattles in the Hutchinson Builders TRL Premiership minor semi-final yesterday at Clive Berghofer Stadium.

The game started in worrying fashion as Wattles prop Pat Manley stayed down after making a tackle in just the third minute and looked in a bad way. He was taken to hospital by ambulance after a 30 minute delay to the game, but reports later in the afternoon suggested he was in a more positive condition.

That injury and a bad cork to star halfback Matt Duggan hurt Wattles but Gatton also battled injury on a usually hot day for players to deal with.

The Hawks were left with just one fit player on the bench at the end of the game in what was a big performance from Gatton.

"It was a hard game. I think both sides had injury concerns," Gatton co-coach George McVeigh said. "We had to rotate one guy at the finish there.

"We had to put players in positions that they weren't used to playing. We had one of our centre four defending on the wing so it was difficult."

Despite the early injury to prop Manley, Wattles took the lead in the fourth minute thanks to a try from Xavier Manley, with the interchange forward coming on in place of his brother. Gatton and Wattles traded tries as the score was 12-12 at half-time.

Wattles got out to a 16-12 lead on the back of some great play from Matt Duggan before the influential halfback left the field.

The Warriors scored again out wide through Tim Hentschel to get out to a 22-12 lead.

Gatton rallied though and levelled the scores at 22-22 thanks to tries from Dom Haak and Jason Wilmot.

Hulking Hawks prop Dennis Burgoyne then put Gatton ahead 26-22 in the 71st minute thanks to a dogged run where he carried multiple Wattles defenders over the try-line to score out wide to set up a thrilling finish.

Wattles looked to have snatched the game in the final minute with a short ball on their 10 metre line putting a Warrior through the defensive line only for the ball to be called back for a forward pass.

Wattles protested to the referee and a penalty was awarded, with Wilmot slotting a goal to round out the 28-22 win for Gatton.

"I thought we had our chances. We probably still should have won I thought," Wattles coach Luke Duggan said.
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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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