The Toowoomba Clydesdales open side, competing at Gladstone in the annual 47th Battalion Trophy, completely outclassed the opposition on the final day of the carnival to win the title for the second time in three years.
The 20 man squad each played their part in a memorable carnival for all involved. The first clash on Saturday, against the hosts Gladstone was always going to be a tough assignment. At half-time, the two sides were locked in a fierce battle with six points each.
The second half started nervously as the Clydesdales turned over possession from the kick off and ultimately conceded six points to trail the hosts. Both sides traded tries until Toowoomba sealed the victory with a fourth converted try. Final score Toowoomba 22 Gladstone 16. Incredibly, this was as close as any side at the carnival would get to the all- conquering Clydesdales. The second game on Saturday saw Toowoomba post a comfortable 42-0 victory over new comers Northern Wide Bay.
On Sunday the weary and wounded players, from all sides, went out to battle for the ultimate Central Division prize. First up Toowoomba met traditional rivals the Sunshine Coast Falcons. The boys were primed for this clash and set about their demolition of the Falcons with a forward dominated game plan.
Valleys front rower and central division representative Bryce Denman returned to his best in this clash with some powerful runs right through the middle of the coast defensive line. This set the tone for some exhilarating football from the backline and clever line running from the edges. Toowoomba scored seven tries to beat the Sunshine Coast 38-10.
The victory set up what most pundits (including yours truly, see previous article!) expected, a Bundaberg v Toowoomba final. These two sides are the only teams to have won the trophy since the newly formed Central division commenced in 2010. The final ended as a mismatch as Toowoomba blew the titleholders off the park with a comprehensive 38-4 victory.
A sweet victory for all the players and staff, especially for some who have been involved since the inception of the tournament. The Central representative side was announced after the final and six Toowoomba players were fortunate enough to gain selection, however, you would have thought more Toowoomba players would be included in the squad considering the comprehensive nature in three of the four wins recorded by the Clydesdales at the carnival. Well done and congratulations to Jason Wilmot (half-back) (player of the carnival), Sean Loxley (five-eighth), Paul Taala (centre), Eugene Seddon (front row), Bryce Denman (front-row) and debutant Mitchell Carpenter (second-row).
In TRL fixtures this weekend Oakey play Gatton in the Hutchies Game of the round. I lean to Gatton in this one. Dalby play Valleys on Saturday night with Dalby keen to record another victory at home.
On Sunday, Souths play Brothers in a danger game for the Tigers. The Highfields Eagles host Pittsworth in would be should be a close encounter. The old foes Warwick and Wattles clash at Father Ranger Oval to round off the fixtures. I will go for an upset here as the Cowboys look to end Wattles unbeaten run.