Premiers fall to Miners in knockout final

CHARTERS Towers will meet Herbert River in next week's Townsville and Districts Rugby League preliminary final after beating defending premiers University 12-10 in Sunday''s knockout minor semi-final.


University five-eighth Nathaniel Bowman was unlucky to miss a fulltime conversion that would have levelled scores after scoring an intercept try just seconds before the buzzer, but Bowman's attempt from roughly halfway between the posts and the sideline was pushed wide thanks largely to a steady cross-wind.


Charters Towers looked set to wind down the clock after gaining a six-point lead courtesy of a Joel Knuth try just over 10 minutes before fulltime, but Bowman's late four-pointer added a high-drama finish to a game dominated by scrambling defence and unforced errors.


The Miners will play Herbert River for the chance to take on Brothers in the TDRL grand-final, with the Brethren advancing straight to the decider after beating the Crushers 34-18 in yesterday's major semi.


Brothers raced to a 22-0 halftime lead after scoring four unanswered tries through Roy Baira, Tremayne Bowie and Jonico Hardwick, who scored two in the opening stanza.


Herbert River got themselves on the scoreboard when Scott Gibson crossed the line from a Mitchell Seri high-ball, and PJ Webb burrowed over the line soon after to take scored to 22-12.


But a try after the break to Dan Humphries all but secured the Brethren's win - which also featured a Michael Parker-Walshe try - despite a late converted try from Herbert River's Richard Pandia.


Charters Towers coach Jeff Burton said he was "certain" Bowman would kick his late conversion in the day's minor semi.


"He (Bowman) doesn't miss many (conversions), and out of anyone in this competition, you'd expect him to kick it," he said.


"It was a tough slog through the middle and the strong breeze made it tough for both sides, and both sides were guilty of errors, but our line defence was outstanding and that's what it takes to win these games."


David Rollingstone scored the Miners' first try roughly 15 minutes into yesterday's clash at the Townsville Sports Reserve, but University scored an equaliser near the break courtesy of Joe Zaro.


With scores tied 6-all at halftime, Uni and Charters Towers continued rolling up the middle and launching attacks that were met by determined defence.


Knuth's late try seemed certain to hand Charters Towers a slow-finishing win until Bowman's effort saw University kicking for extra-time football.


"Today we just couldn't get over the tryline and it's disappointing to finish the season already, but never mind ... we just weren't good enough on the day," Uni coach Tony Martin said.


TDRL semi-finals - A grade, Minor: CHARTERS TOWERS 12 (D Rollingstone, J Knuth; goals A Shaw 2) def UNIVERSITY 10 (J Zaro, N Bowman; N Bowman goal);


Major: BROTHERS 34 (J Hardwick 2, T Bowie, D Humphries, R Baira, M Parker-Walshe; M Groves 4) HERBERT RIVER 18 (S Gibson, P Webb, R Pandia; goals M Seri 3).


Reserves, Major: CENTRALS 32 BROTHERS 14; Minor: HERBERT RIVER 42 UNIVERSITY 8. Under-19s, Major: BROTHERS 20 NORTHS 4; Minor: HERBERT RIVER 34 UNIVERSITY 28.