The Wattles Warriors ran out convincing winners 36-12 in last Sunday’s TRL grand final.
The Wattles side was first to score, after an elusive run from five-eighth Brodie Ciesolka. The young Wattles five-eighth produced a memorable moment, in the 10th minute of play, when he broke through the Gatton front line and cleverly evaded the cover defence to score wide out and to the left of the uprights.
Key playmaker Matthew Duggan missed the difficult conversion. The Gatton Hawks struck back within five minutes, when captain Aaron Werth planted the ball over the line after good lead up work. Jason Wilmot converted and the Hawks led for the first and only time in the game.
Wattles utility Ryan Duggan finished off some good play when he accepted a pass from his brother Matt and crossed for Wattles second try of the game. Matthew duly converted for the half time score of Wattles 10 Gatton 6.
The first 10 minutes of the second half belonged to Wattles. Centre and man of the match, Joel Koina stole the show, but not after suffering a knock to his shoulder in the first half, which had forced a 15 minute stint on the sideline.
The shoulder, once put back in place, worked a treat and Koina capitalised with a brace of tries to extend Wattles lead to 22-6. Playmaker Matt Duggan converted his second penalty in the 60th minute and the game was virtually sealed with Wattles holding a comfortable 20 point lead.
Koina’s day wasn’t finished and his electric speed was on display for all to witness when he raced away 70m to put the issue beyond doubt with Gatton down to 12 men, as a result of the sin binning of hooker Daniel Marsh.
The sides exchanged converted tries in the last quarter of the match with the final score ending in a conclusive victory to the Wattles Warriors. The Gatton Hawks, although beaten were far from disgraced, and the fact they were able to be in the grand final to defend their 2013 title, speaks volumes for the club and its players.
Wattles certainly deserved their victory as they have been the stand-out side all year. Their half-back Matthew Duggan won player of the year for the second year in a row.
Coach Luke Duggan emulated his brother by being crowned coach of the year again. The team’s consistency was rewarded with a minor and major premiership. The contribution of the Manley, Koina and Duggan brothers certainly provided great impetus and camaraderie for the Wattles squad and supporters.
The TRL title has now been won by three different sides in the last three years. Let’s hope the fine achievements of the country teams, in the TRL in recent years, can continue and we don’t see the dismantling of yet another premiership side.