Toowoomba Rugby League patrons enjoyed some amazing games last weekend in Round 9 (May 23/24) fixtures setting up a bottle neck as we progress towards the Madsen-Rasmussen Trophy weekend on June 14th.

With TRL mid-season finals fast approaching, the contenders to contest the Madsen-Rasmussen Trophy final in a fortnight are lined up snapping at the heels of the ladder leaders, the Gatton ‘Hawks’ and Highfields ‘Eagles’.

After a slow start to the 2015 season defending premiers the Wattles ‘Warriors’ are well in the mix after they finished ahead of Highfields 12 – 6 at Highfields’ Kuhls Road Complex in a very hotly contested yet scrappy game with more than its share of errors. Both sides were locked at 6 all at the completion of the first stanza, Wattles clever five-eighth Brodie Ciesiolka celebrating his 22nd birthday scoring both of Wattles tries as he played a key role in his side’s victory.

While the error rate saw the game anything but a great spectacle, the win improved Wattles standing on the ladder, still sitting in third place but level on points with second placed Highfields and the fourth placed Pittsworth ‘Danes’.

The undefeated Gatton ‘Hawks’ were given a real wake-up call out at Gilbert Oval where the Goondiwindi ‘Boars’ nearly pulled off the upset of the round as they finished behind the ‘Hawks’ 40 – 42 after trailing 16 – 24 at halftime. The ‘Boars’ supporter base were in raptures with the home side leading 40 – 30 five minutes from full time.

Cool and calm Gatton lifted & produced a great escape running in two late tries to remain unbeaten & on track to defend the Madsen-Rasmussen Trophy they won last year. Goondiwindi scored eight tries to seven by the premiership leaders, ‘Hawks’ halfback Callum Woolacott with his goal kicking radar well on target to play a major role in getting his side home.With two minutes to go and the score at 40 all Woolacott converted from near the sideline to confirm a Gatton victory.

It’s another significant challenge for the ‘Hutchies Cup’ Premiership leaders on Saturday with one verses two playing off on Gatton home turf Cahill Park as they take on the Highfields ‘Eagles’ in an all important clash for both sides.

Pittsworth overwhelmed Brothers 34 – 18 and are also real contenders for the historic Madsen-Rasmussen Trophy final, their outstanding back-rower Mitchell Carpenter named ‘Man of the Match’ and receiving the ‘Hutchie’s Mug’ for his efforts.

The improving Warwick ‘Cowboys’ are just a win away in fifth place on the ladder on ten competition points. The ‘Cowboys’ showed no signs of jet lag after heading to Oakey’s Trevor Mickelborough Oval where they overwhelmed the Oakey ‘Bears’ scorching home to a 56 – 0 victory.

The Dalby ‘Diehards’ returned to the winners circle with their first win since Round 5 accounting for the Souths’ ‘Tigers’ 34 – 22, Dalby leading 22 – 10 at the break against the ‘Tigers’ who are more than keen to post their first top grade win of the season.

While an historic tradition, the Madsen-Rasmussen Trophy is now a Toowoomba Rugby League institution and a much sort after honour for TRL clubs. The Gatton ‘Hawks’ have won the coveted silverware on two occasions, 1988 and last year when they edged out the Wattles ‘Warriors’ in a thrilling contest 37 – 33 in extra time. Of those considered contenders Highfields & Pittsworth are yet to host the impressive award in their trophy cabinets, while Wattles have been successful in 1984, 1997, 1998 & 2005 and Warwick in 1987.

‘Congratulations & Thanks Maroons’ - The Toowoomba Rugby League has always enjoyed a powerful link to ‘State of Origin’, from the very first match in 1980 when Darling Downs League legend John McDonald coached the inaugural line-up to victory, a team that included former Toowoomba players Rohan Hancock and Alan Smith. From Wednesday night’s success Toowoomba can claim Johnathon Thurston, a Toowoomba Under 16 representative in 1999 and local before heading to the Canterbury ‘Bulldogs’ for the 2002 season.

Toowoomba Rugby League Chairman Paul Dean is proud to head an organisation that can boast such a bulging rugby league history and stable of achievers who have contributed so much to the great game at local, regional, State & National levels, which of course includes State of Origin.

“Adding to our proud history, we have to recognise our latest young talent emerging on the League horizon in Clayton Mack who represented in the Queensland Under 16 side that defeated New South Wales 10 – 6 prior to Wednesday evening’s ‘Origin’ game” said Paul.

“No doubt the Toowoomba & Darling Downs tradition will continue.”

Toowoomba Rugby League Round 10 fixtures (23/24 May): Gatton v Highfields, Souths v Oakey, Brothers v Wattles, Warwick v Goondiwindi, Valleys v Dalby with Pittsworth drawing the bye.

‘Hutchinson Builders’ A Grade Premiership Ladder after Round 9
Gatton 16, Highfields 12, Wattles 12, Pittsworth 12, Warwick 10, Dalby 9, Valleys 7, Oakey 4, Goondiwindi 4, Brothers 3, Souths 1.