A BEAUTIFUL Queensland Springs day greeted the West Arana Hills Football Club on Saturday, October 19, as it prepared to host three matches of rugby league.
The scene was set for the inaugural Western Broncos Development Cultural Exchange matches, as teams finalised their preparations for the event.
After a year of planning, the Western Broncos Development program culminated in a great family day of rugby league where spectators were treated to three thrilling games of footy, with matches played in the Under 14, Under 16 and Open Mens age groups.
Game reports and score wrap up below:
Under 14 Western Broncos v Queensland Tonga
Queensland Tonga proved too strong for their Western Broncos counterparts, running away with a 48-12 victory in their game which opened the weekend at the West Arana Hills Panthers Football Club.
Young Tongan power house utility Mahe Taipalet stole the show with his performance, scoring five mesmerising tries to seal his teams victory.
Whilst both sides played with a great display of heart and skill, the size of the Tongan side proved too much in the end.
Western Broncos Under 14 coach Neal Aldridge says his team was gallant in defeat.
I was happy with their effort; they definitely put in, Aldridge said. We just needed a little bit more direction at times.
This match was a good opportunity for those kids, theyll learn from this experience and I cant wait for next year.
Queensland Tonga 48 (Mahe Taipalet 5, Joe Pritchard 2, David Fifita 2, Steve Taukalua; Zeph Hiligutu 4 goals) def Western Broncos Development 10 (Sam Mason, Hayden Sullivan tries; Jordan Wollett goal)
Under 16 Western Broncos v Queensland PNG
An entertaining match between the Under 16 Queensland PNG and Under 16 Western Broncos sides took place, with both teams keen to etch their names as the 2013 victors in their maiden encounter.
As the local crowd built in anticipation and support, they were treated to a game befitting the occasion.
The inaugural match went tick for tack, as both teams refused to lie down and the scores were locked at 4-4 for most of the match.
In the end, Queensland PNG scored two successive tries close to fulltime to steal a 20-8 results in the hard fought match.
Queensland PNG strike player, Jackson Lohia was a standout, scoring two tries to help his team to victory.
While the left side centre and wing combination of Joel Henschell and Courtney Wanma both managed to cross the line for the Western Broncos, halfback Sam Vaughey was unable to convert these tries.
Western Broncos coach Tristan Thompson says while the boys didnt get the result they were after, they certainly benefited from the game.
The boys benefited just from being exposed to that level of footy, Thompson said.
Even when the game was gone towards the end, they just kept turning up.
The program (has) exceeded where I thought we were at and I look forward to building for next year.
Queensland PNG 20 (Jackson Lohia 2, Zak Taibi, Shalin Hoerler tries; Zak Taibi 2 goals) def Western Broncos Development 8 (Courtney Wanma and Joel Henschell tries)
Open Mens Army v Queensland PNG
The final game of the day saw a local Army side from the Enoggera Barracks take on an Open Mens Queensland PNG side.
Both teams shot out of the blocks with a barrage of physical and bone-jarring hits right from the get go.
The physical encounter came much to the delight of spectators watching from the newly-built Arana Leagues Club outdoor patio area, as they cheered from the best seats in the house.
Despite Queensland PNG taking the lead late in the second half, it was the Army side who were eventual victors, winning 14-10.
(Photos: Gavin Nuss, QRL Media)