The first week of the Central Highlands Junior Rugby League finals series, hosted by the Peak Downs Pirates at the Capella Sportsground saw a massive crowd enjoy the business end of the quality rugby league season played by the junior players on the Highlands.
In the Under 12s, the Minor Premiers, Springsure Mountain Men were way too strong for second place Emerald Brothers Blue scoring 10 tries to the Brothers 2 including five tries to the Mountain Men’s Jackson Taylor. Third place Tigers Green also asserted their dominance over fourth place Clermont Bears defeating them 38–0. That’s the end of the season for the Bears while the Tigers get a second chance at the premiership when they take on Brothers Blue this Saturday in Springsure. The winner earns the right to play hot favourites, Springsure in the finals to be held in Blackwater on the first weekend of September. Tigers Green have only played Brother Blue once this year with the Brethren winning in a close one 24–18.
High scores were seen in the Under 14s first final as well with Minor Premiers Brothers White dominating their club mates, Brothers Blue 40–14. In the other semi, third place Tigers were too good for the Middlemount Panthers defeating them in a much closer, yet still high scoring encounter, 38–30. This result sees the Tigers facing off against Brothers Blue to determine who will play Brothers White in the 2014 Grand Final. This second semi should be a cracker of a game with both teams winning one game each against each other during the regular season.
While the Under 12s and Under 14s may have followed the script of the ladder, it was in the Under 16s finals that everything changed. It was second place Emerald Brothers against the Minor Premiers, Clermont Bears who upset the apple cart with a 24 – 16 win against the hot favourites. This was the second week in a row for the undefeated competition leaders to feel the wrath of the Brothers team and gives the Brothers an easy ride into the Grand Final. The Bears, who must be wondering how to recapture their form from the regular season, need to defeat the Peak Downs Pirates who accounted for the Middlemount Panthers 34-20 in the other Under 16 final. The two teams have played four times throughout the season for two close wins to the Bears, one draw and one forfeit by the Pirates however this form accounts for nothing during the finals series.
Second week of the finals will be held in Springsure on the 30th August with the annual Cluster Carnival for the younger age groups from Under 6s through to Under 10s being played in the morning, followed by the Under 12 second semi at 11.00am. Under 14s game will commence at 1.00pm, with the Under 16s to commence at 2.15pm.