GF preview: Wattles v Gatton
Gatton sealed the opportunity to defend their title, with an unlikely 32-30 victory over the hot and cold Warwick Cowboys.
If ever a game was to be described as “a game of two halves”, then the 2014 preliminary semi-final takes the cake.
The Warwick Cowboys came out all guns blazing and scorched to a 24 point advantage in no time.
The Hawks hit back with a try to fullback Steve Franciscus but the half time score line of 30-6 in favour of the Cowboys pretty much summed up their dominance over a lacklustre Gatton side.
Whatever Gatton coach Tom Friend, said or did at half-time it resonated with his troops, as they mounted an onslaught, early in the second half.
The second stanza resembled the first, however it was the black and gold of the Hawks not the red, blue and white of the Cowboys imposing their will on the game.
The match did came down to the last minute of play with Gatton awarded a penalty 10 metres out from the Warwick line.
Rampaging front-rower Denis Burgoyne proved unstoppable and barged his significant frame over the line to give Jason Wilmot the opportunity to become a hero with the conversion.
Wilmot, a renowned sharpshooter, obliged and the conversion 10 metres in from the Mary Street sideline never looked in doubt.
The Warwick players were shattered and remained on the field in disbelief for some time after the full-time siren, equally their supporters sat stunned in the grandstands.
The combatants are finalised – the best team in the competition Wattles, pitted against the reigning premiers Gatton, a promoter’s dream.
To say the final will be close, is definitely an understatement. The last two clashes between the sides have been epic encounters leaving spectators yearning for more. I think Wattles will be much improved for their last outing but may be underdone in terms of football with the side playing just twice in the last month.
Gatton have battled week to week and thrive on the competition but we must count themselves lucky to escape last Sunday. I think the fairy-tale run of the Wattles Warriors will play out and they will be crowned 2014 premiers after losing just one fixture match in the season.
However, a Gatton victory would prove that last year was no fluke. We wish the very best to all the sides competing this Sunday at Clive Berghofer Stadium. The A grade contest is scheduled to kick off at 3.30 pm.