In the fog and rain on a cold Saturday night, the Warwick Cowboys nudged out the Dalby Diehards, when half back Trent Achilles slotted a 30m field goal in golden point to end the season for the Dalby side at Clive Berghofer stadium.
Dalby dominated the game early and raced to an 18-6 score at half time however the tenacious Warwick outfit wouldn’t be denied and poured on the points to level the scores at 18 each. The goal kickers traded penalty goals and the score after 80 minutes was locked at 20 all.
Four minutes into golden point period the crafty half slotted the match winner advancing the Cowboys to another do or die match against Souths Tigers whilst eliminating the Diehards from the competition. All credit to the Warwick Cowboys who have regained form in the second round of the competition and will be more than nuisance value for the other finalists.
On Sunday, the reigning premiers the Gatton Hawks had their hands full against a determined Souths Tigers outfit. The first half was characterised by desperate defence as both sides’ scrambling defence denied the opposition what looked like certain tries.
The pressure was relieved in the 39th minute when Gatton crossed in the right hand corner after excellent lead up play. Master goal kicker Jason Wilmot, who was eventually the difference in the final score lines, slotted the conversion in the windy conditions with aplomb.
Both sides welcomed the half time break after such a gruelling defensive effort. The Hawks were first to register points in the second stanza and went out to a 12 point lead. The Tigers, dogged by poor ball control in the red zone, began to get some momentum and a piggy back into Hawks territory was converted when Ben Loxley slipped a clever pass to lock Anisi Finau to plant the ball on the line. The conversion was missed but the Tigers had a sniff.
The Tigers crossed for two more tries however the goal kickers were unable to navigate the tricky winds and failed to raise the flags with all three attempts. The score-line was locked at 12 all with 15 minutes remaining. Another handling error by the Tigers, this time from the ensuing kick- off, gifted the Hawks field position which they duly converted into six points via a determined run by back-rower Doug Asiata and another magnificent conversion from the sideline by Wilmot.
This Saturday, the second week of the finals, will see Warwick clash with Souths in the minor semi-final, with the winner advancing through for a shot at a grand final spot and the loser being eliminated. On form there is little between both sides, they have not clashed since round 3 of the competition when Souths posted an ordinary 14-6 victory against an understrength Cowboys side. Based on last week’s matches I saw enough from Souths to tell me they will improve significantly from the hit out. I lean to the Tigers by six in another close fixture.
On Sunday the best side in the competition the Wattles Warriors clash with the reigning premiers the Gatton Hawks in the major semi-final. Last time these two sides met, with a trophy on the line, the Hawks won in a thriller. I expect the same torrid affair with neither side giving an inch. I will go for the Warriors to advance straight to the grand final as fair reward for their outstanding season.