Last weekend saw the ‘Hutchinson Builders’ Toowoomba Rugby League Premiership kick off from the mid-season peak and start the downhill race to the 2015 season finals series. There are still ten fixture rounds away with the finals commencing on September 5 and 6.
TRL President Paul Dean is predicting the 2015 season second round to provide some outstanding rugby league in all grades for supporters, and quite possibly a few upsets as mid-ladder teams lift to challenge for the top five rungs.
Without doubt the Gatton Hawks have been the form team of the A Grade premiership to date, with ten wins from eleven fixtures. Their only loss came back in Round 10 when the Highfields Eagles halted the Hawks winning run when they snatched a 22-20 victory.
Gatton succumbed to the Wattles Warriors in the Madsen-Rasmussen Trophy Final recently but last week finished ahead of the Pittsworth ‘Danes’ 30-22, resulting in the Danes tumbling out of the top five.
Currently Gatton (20), Highfields (18), Wattles (16), Warwick (14) and Dalby (13) head the first five rungs on the premiership ladder as we head in to Round 13 this weekend. But complacency by any of the top teams will see Pittsworth (12) and Valleys (11) snapping at their heels to jump a rung or two.
It’s certainly exciting times league wise on the Downs, and the big matches continue this weekend with many eyes focused on the replay of the recent Madsen-Rasmussen Trophy Final with Gatton and Wattles confronting each other at Gatton’s Cahill Park on Sunday in what will be a spirited top of the table clash.
Wattles put their feet up and enjoyed an ‘RDO’ last weekend having drawn the bye and rested some niggling injuries this past fortnight.
Saturday’s games between Warwick and Pittsworth and also Dalby and Goondiwindi could well see the top five faces alter, and similarly when Highfields take on Valleys on Sunday. Souths with their new faces and firepower are up against Brothers, and both desperate for competition points as they grapple to climb the ladder.
Round 12 Results
Gatton v Pittsworth
Premiership leaders the Gatton Hawks maintained their fixture match rhythm against the Pittsworth Danes, winning 30-22. But it wasn’t all beer and skittles. The Hawks ripped in to lead 18-0 over the fellow top five team at halftime, but in front of their home crowd Pittsworth lifted and fought back to 18-18 before Gatton awoke from their slumber and went on to win. Centre pairing Josh Lees and Robert Fletcher scored a double each for Gatton and wing sensation Billy Jackwitz touched down for yet another of a growing list of four-pointers. Les Kofe claimed two tries for the Danes, who took winning honours in Reserve, Under 18 and Second Division grades.
Highfields v Souths
Second-rower Matt Prowse claimed two of the six tries the Highfields Eagles scored to win 34-20 over an improving Souths Tigers outfit. The high flying Eagles ran up a 16-8 lead at half time and kicked on to move onto the second rung of the premiership ladder. Highfields are putting genuine pressure on the competition leaders sitting a win behind them on the ladder and given they are the only side to beat the Hawks in fixtures in 2015.
Warwick v Brothers
The Warwick Cowboys racked up a 34-10 victory over the Brothers Leprechauns on Saturday to hold their fourth place on the ladder in a game best described as ‘ugly’ by Cowboys Captain/Coach Matt Gainey. Regardless the Cowboys defence on Brothers’ home turf at Glenholme Park was impressive, and after emerging from a close first stanza tussle to lead 12-10, Warwick careered away to score 22 unanswered second-half points.
Dalby v Oakey
Dalby Diehards President Tom Kelly was all smiles at his A Grade outfit built on a 24-12 halftime advantage and eventually ran away with a much needed 56-20 win over the Oakey Bears at Oakey's Trevor Mickelborough Oval on Sunday. Dalby front-rower Colin Green collected the 'Hutchies Mug' for his Man of the Match performance, in a game considered the launch pad for the Diehards charge back to the top five.
Goondiwindi v Valleys
The Valleys Roosters, TRL competitors since 1919, took an important step up towards the top five after outlasting the Goondiwindi Boars in a teak tough contest at the Boars Gilbert Oval. Goondiwindi led 18-10 at halftime before Valleys put their noses to the grindstone and ran in 18 second half points to six finishing the stronger to notch up their fifth win of the season.
The Boars have three wins to their credit after re-entering the TRL competition after a two year absence, and sit eighth on the ladder. However, they are capable of producing a few surprises before season’s end as they improve each week and with the home coming of a favourite League son and local junior in Mark Offerdahl. Offerdahl has worn the colours of the Manly-Waringah Sea Eagles and Brisbane based Easts Tigers in the Intrust Super Cup, having also turned out for AS Carcassonne in the French Elite One Championship, the Connecticut Wildcats in the AMNRL and the North Wales Crusaders in Britain. In 2013 he represented the United States in the World Cup.
‘Hutchinson Builders’ A Grade Premiership Ladder after Round 12: Gatton 20, Highfields 18, Wattles 16, Warwick 14, Dalby 13, Pittsworth 12,Valleys 11, Goondiwindi 6, Oakey 4, Souths 3, Brothers 3.
Round 13 Fixtures: Saturday – Wattles v Gatton, Cahill Park, Gatton; Warwick v Pittsworth, Father Ranger Oval, Warwick. Sunday – Dalby v Goondiwindi, Dalby Rugby League Club; Souths v Brothers, Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba; Valleys v Highfields, Herb Steinohrt Oval, Toowoomba; Oakey bye.