Crushers claim Townsville premiership

HERBERT RIVER have won the 2013 Townsville and Districts Rugby League grand final with a gritty and at times fiery 24-12 victory against arch-rivals Brothers.


Trailing 8-0 after 10 minutes, Herbert River overcame a sluggish start to work themselves into the contest with the consistency that saw them finish as TDRL minor premiers, and then show vital composure when the going got tough.


Crushers centre Anthony Perkins scored two tries in yesterday's decider at the Townsville Sports Reserve, while halfback Mitchell Seri made a number of game-turning plays in his man-of-the-match performance.


Herbert River captain Todd Cockburn - along with Seri - were the only members of this year's Crushers team to be part of the club's first grand final victory in 2006, and said their third win was perhaps the best.


"I'm on top of the world, and we're really going to soak this one up," Cockburn said. "It was a tough year last year, and it's good to be back here.


"In the first 20 to 25 minutes we really defended our line, and once we got that first try in the corner and then back-to-back sets to get our second try, it tipped things in our favour.


"We had to take our chances against Brothers, because they're gritty as well."


Brothers beat Herbert River in the TDRL major semi-final a fortnight ago, courtesy of an opening half blitz, and appeared on track for a repeat performance after scoring first, out wide through centre Calvin Waia.


Veteran Brothers fullback Matt Groves earlier gave his team a 2-0 lead after five minutes via a penalty goal, but Waia's four-pointer led to a 25-minute phase of Brethren dominance.


Leading 10-8 going into the second stanza, Herbert River scored one minute after the break through second-rower Drew Chinotti after Brothers dropped the ball on the opening hit-up.


From there Brothers played catch-up, and despite plenty of willing tackles and promising attacks, they never matched Herbert River's go-forward.


"It's always disappointing when you know you haven't played at your best," Brothers coach Dave Elliott said. "We were capable of doing better than that.


"But to Herbert River's credit they turned up and they were the better team on the day.


"It's a very healthy rivalry going back a few years.


"There was always going to be a bit of feeling in it.


"I'm sure they'll be partying for at least a week in Ingham."


Brothers won the Under-19 grand final 38-26 against Norths, and Centrals beat Brothers 26-4 in the reserve grade decider.


HERBERT RIVER 24 (A Perkins 2, R Sheahan D Chinotti tries; goals M Seri 4) BROTHERS 12 (C Waia, J Veukiso tries; goals M Groves 2)


Reserves: CENTRALS 26 BROTHERS 4.


Under-19s: BROTHERS 38 NORTHS 26.