Whether it be the players, or their parents, the referees or the hosting club, Grand final day is undoubtedly the most exciting and nerve-racking time of year, and 2014 was no exception for the competing teams in the Central Highlands Junior Rugby League Grand Finals hosted by the Blackwater Junior Crushers.
The Under 12 Grand Final was a hotly contested final between the Minor Premiers, Springsure and third place getters, Emerald Tigers. Only four points separated first and third in the regular season, so this final was always anticipated to be a close one. And the players did not disappoint. Final score saw Springsure defeat the Tigers 10-8.
The Springsure Player of the match was Joe Fletcher, while the Tigers Brayden Weise was acknowledged as their player of the final. Following the game, Central Highlands President, Andrew Finlay presented the Under 12 Player of the Year to Haylea Lonergan from Middlemount. Most tries for the Under 12 season was awarded to Jackson Taylor from Springsure who amassed a huge 30 try haul for the season. The Central Highlands JRL also awarded Springsure Joe Fletcher with the CH Player of the Final.
The Under 14 Grand Final was a complete contrast to the Under 12 final with Minor premiers Brothers White cementing the top position with a 72–6 drubbing over their club colleagues, Brothers Blue. It would have been a bitter sweet victory for the Brothers club – proud to have both teams in the final, but disappointed to see the result so one sided.
The Brothers White team have been the most dominant all year, and were eight points ahead of second place Brothers Blue at the end of the regular season, a huge positive for the Brethren in Emerald. Brothers White Ethan Bullemore was declared their player of the match, while Tristan Browne was deserved winner of the Brothers Blue Player of the Match. Post game saw the CHJRL presentations and Ethan Bullemore cleaned up with Most Tries, Player of the Final and Player of the Year, an award he shared with the Peak Downs, Kyle Vogler. Most Goals was awarded to Mitchell Hayward from the Emerald Tigers.
The Under 16 Final was the only final not to feature the Minor Premier with the Clermont Bears eliminated from the equation the week before 15-14 at the hands of the Peak Downs Pirates. However, that tough game required 20 minutes of extra time and may have been considered the Pirates Grand Final as they were unable to match the Emerald Brothers who defeated the Pirates 30-8.
Brothers awarded Max Marshall as their player of the Grand Final while Adam Hugo from the Pirates earned the award from his team. Central Highland JRL award recipients included Tyler West from the Tigers who won Player of the Year and Most Tries. Most Goals was awarded to Jackson Reynolds from Clermont, while the CH acknowledged Max Marshall as their Player of the Grand Final.
In the only other game for the day, the Under 12 Plate Final was won by Tigers who defeated Peak Downs 22-4. Lincoln Johnson from the Pirates was their player of the match, while the Tigers nominated Jack Barsby as their best on the day.
The Central Highlands Junior Rugby League executive committee also acknowledged Tash Ling from the Peak Downs JRL as their 2014 Administrator of the Year, Jacob Firth as the Referee Rookie of the Year; Jesse Looker, Most Improved Referee; Brent Sommer, Volunteer Referee of the Year; Jason Caddies Mini-Mod Referee of the Year; Tom Cunningham, International Referee of the Year; and Jesse Looker as the 2014 Referee of the Year.
And so, the curtain closes on another successful season for the Central Highlands. Congratulations to all teams … to all the players … to all our parents … to all those who continue to commit to making rugby league the greatest game of all on the Highlands.