The 2014 NDRL finals kicked off on a very warm winter’s day at Avondale with Miriam Vale and South Kolan playing in the knock-out semi-final with the winner having a second chance to make the Grand Final.
In the early minutes of the match Miriam Vale suffered the devastating loss of co-captain and former coach Aaron Causton with a serious finger injury which prevented him from returning to the field.
Before the Magpies could regather their composure after Causton’s injury South Kolan had run away to a 22-0 lead at half time with a large score looking to be inevitable. Miriam Vale came out in the second half fired up and fought to the final whistle to keep afloat their chance of playing in a home grand final like they did in 2005 and 2010.
Backs Dale Fischer and Kurt McKeown scored four tries between them getting the Pies back with 10 points of the Sharks but a try late in the game took away the chance of Miriam Vale winning but the Pies displayed what pride and passion means to their club. Daniel Lee was injured late in the second half, leaving the Pies further depleted. South Kolan won the game 36-22 giving them a chance to play next week against the loser of the main game.
Avondale had the home ground advantage against Gin Gin in the major semi.
Brian Totau scored first for the Tigers and Nathan Leather added the two to be six nil up very early on but Gin Gin hit straight back with a flat pass by Gin Gin’s No. 7 to winger Jimmy Wilkinson to score in the corner. Next Brent Kuskey scored a try on the Tigers line by diving over a player to score from dummy half then converted his own try to put the Hawks in front 10-6. Nathan Leather then tried to follow suit but was unsuccessful in converting his own try.
Gin Gin were on the attack soon after and scored an easy try with Tigers winger Craig Bek coming in off his wing, leaving a huge gap for Hawks winger Jimmy Wilkinson to score his second try but the Hawks went on to make numerous errors and Avondale took every opportunity punishing Gin Gin.
Due to the goal kicking of Brent Kuskey, the Hawks got within eight again with time on the clock but following a short kick off option that back-fired, the Tigers ran in another try to give them the momentum to topple the Hawks 34-20 and secure a place in this year’s grand final with the chance to win back to back premierships. Congratulations to Avondale Coach Michael O’Sullivan.
At Agnes Water this Sunday, Agnes play Miram Vale and South Kolan take on Gin Gin for a grand final spot.