SATURDAY saw the last semi-finals for 2014 in the Under 11 and 12 competitions.
After last week when Under 11 Brothers Blue and Under 12 Yeppoon Gold qualified for the grand finals, this week saw the last chance for sides to meet them in next week’s grand finals.
In the Under 11 game Gracemere qualified for this game with a hard fought 12 -0 win over Yeppoon while Cap Coast Brothers needed to bounce back after going down to Brothers Blue 10-6.
The game started slowly for both sides as neither could make any progress into each other’s half. In the 10th minute Cap Coast lock Taine Cooper barged over for a good try and with the conversation from Toby Messer it gave the coast brothers a 6-0 lead, play then went back and forth and it was Gracemere's centre Tyler Bates that broke through out wide to run 20m to score Taine Tamanui converted to tie the game up which was the half times score.
The second half started like the first with both sides giving nothing away and even suggestion in the commentary box of extra time, in the 7th minute the scores were broken when Kalani Sing showed a clean pair of heels to score, the sight of the son of former Queensland and Australian player Matt was evident in this sole try.
With the conversation successful and a 12-6 lead, the Cap Coast then decided to put the game out of Gracemere's reach when Sing again used his speed to out run the defence and score and take the lead 18-6 with 10 minutes remaining. Gracemere never gave up and threw everything at the Coast Brothers line, but they held on for the win and take on Brothers Blue in next week’s decider.
The last game of the day was between last year’s grand final winners Fitzroy's and Emu Park.
Fitzroy's defeated North's to take on the Emu's after Yeppoon Gold made it through to their second straight decider defeating Emu's 26-12.
Like the Under 11 game no side could break the defence and it took until the 9th minute before Emu Parks Tennesson Brown broke through, the conversation from Jett McCarthy gave them a 6 -0 lead, it only took another three minutes when live wire full back Tristian Butler broke through out wide for a 30m run to the line after a great pass from Freed McKinley, with the conversation unsuccessful it gave the Emu's a 10-0 lead.
The defending premiers then gain possession after a mistake and Jake Barhan broke through wide out to get the Shark's on the board and back into the game. The 10-4 score line would be the half time score.
Emu's started the second half well when Fred McKinley scored a try for himself after his very good pass to set one up in the first half, it was converted by Levi Collins then Tristian Butler scored his second of the game six minutes later and with the conversion by Lionel Mann Emus look to wrap up the game early leading 22-4, but Fitzroy's then started to attack with Aare Hirimaki scoring wide out from a good play and then Jack Hallam scored five minutes later and with Hirsimaki conversion the game was 22-14 with five minutes to play.
The game then went from end to the other with no side able to break the defence with 30 seconds left in the match Emu Park centre Fred McKinley scored a run away try and converted it to give Emu Park a spot in next week’s decider 28-14.
The Under 11 decider could go either way, with both sides having plenty of attacking playmakers and hardworking defenders.
Brothers Blue will look to fullback Noah Chadwick to work with half back Joseph Sutton while lock Eli Hetherington will be working hard in both defence and attack.
They will need to contain Cap Coast fullback Kalani Sing with his speed and swerve he can score from anywhere on the field, while number 9 Thomas Hooper will be looking for opportunities for hard working front rower Grady Callaghan.
In the Under 12 game, the week off will give Yeppoon Gold time to recover from a hard fought win the week before, they will have Queensland Under 12 playmaker Kolby Green leading the way for the Seagulls and he utilise speedy fullback Jack Howard.
Hard nose second row Luke Stenhouse will work all day and his high work rate in attack could catch the Emus by surprise. The Seagulls will need to stop Emu Parks speed machines centre Fred McKinley, halfback Lionel Mann and lock Pautawera. Yeppoon have been the bench mark this year and after tasting defeat in last year’s grand final will look to make up for it this year.
This coming week’s grand final days gala games will commence around 8.30am on Saturday with the Under 11 grand final between Brothers Blue and Cap Coast Brothers to kick off at 11.30am and the Yeppoon Gold and Emu Park Under 12 grand final to start at 12.30pm. This will be followed by the Rockhampton and District Senior Rugby League Semi Finals.
*Congratulations to the NRL Development team for the weekends first gala days held in Rockhampton. Dominic Draper – with assistance of the Rockhampton and District Junior League, the Rockhampton Referee Associations – have stage two days of gala events. Leading up to Saturday’s semi-finals the Under 9 and 10s played round robin matches and on Sunday morning it was the turn of the Under 6, Under 7 and Under 8s to run around.