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Toowoomba Rugby League 2015 season pace setters the Gatton Hawks stumbled at the finishing post at the Rose City’s Father Ranger Oval on Sunday against the Warwick Cowboys. The Cowboys rode time on the “arm jerker” Hawks finishing ahead 32-30 in the nail-biter thrilling their home crowd.

Warwick v Gatton
The game went right to the wire with a try by Cowboys three-quarter Ryan McIvor proving the difference on the scoreboard as the full time siren sounded. Warwick certainly showed what they are capable of and proved they are of top five calibre, the result bumping the Hawks from the top rung of the ladder and joint leaders with Wattles & Highfields to second place.

Young Warwick fullback Craig Donn, somewhat of a new face to top grade, stepped up to the mark showing plenty of confidence and maturity in a vital game and scored a hat trick of tries.

Warwick Captain/Coach Matt Gainey couldn’t have been happier with the result that keeps Warwick in touch with the top five, the result coming against a club among the best in the competition.

“We were minus a couple of key players, and while injury is the issue players work is also a problem nowadays” said Gainey, “but it’s a hurdle for most clubs. Achieving a consistent line-up week in week out is difficult enough with the perils of injury, but it’s also a balancing act in recent seasons with players working commitments.”

Regarding Sunday’s effort, “it’s a simple game really” said the duel Border League premiership winning coach, “so keep it simple we did against Gatton. In recent fixtures we tend to over complicate things.”

Coach Gainey needs little convincing that his Warwick side has the potential to go the distance in the 2015 ‘Hutchinson’s Builders’ first grade premiership, but “we have a long way to go yet. Sides like Wattles, Highfields and Gatton make for very challenging opposition, and we have to be able to compete with them consistently to be contenders at the business end of the season”.

Wattles v Souths
The Wattles Warriors remain at the top of the ladder after walloping the Souths Tigers 70-24 at Clive Berghofer Stadium on Sunday, in form five-eighth Brodie Ciesiolka touching down for an impressive six tries for the winning side. Ciesiolka was awarded the ‘Hutchies Mug’ as Man of the Match after a dominant performance against the ninth placed Tigers. Despite the result Souths centre Rohan Kuhl found his way through the rugged Wattles defence to score three tries.

Dalby v Brothers
Round 15 featured a few hefty scores, aside from Wattles one sided finish against Souths, the Dalby Diehards eased into fifth place on the back of a 56-10 success over the bottom of ladder Brothers Leprechauns. The multiple try-scoring bug was rampant at Dalby also with mobile forward Chris Wilkes rewarded with four touch downs for an outstanding performance while team-mate and back-rower Marcus Jensen also impressed with two tries and seven goals. Brothers trailed 6-30 after the first forty minutes, and only managed a single try in the second half, but credit must go to half back Sam Betros who stood out in a beaten side.

Highfields v Oakey
The Highfields Eagles catered for the Oakey Bears in another one-sided encounter on Oakey turf at Trevor Mikelborough Oval winning 62-12 to maintain their share of the competition ladder top rung with Wattles. Second-rower Conor Nolan ran in three tries in the winning total, while halfback Kris Mundey crossed for the Bears only two touchdowns.

Pittsworth v Valleys
The Pittsworth Danes brought a halt to the Valleys Roosters ascent up the premiership ladder at Herb Steinohrt Oval finishing 36-22 victors. Prior to kick-off Pittsworth were sitting in fourth place with Valleys a point behind on the fifth rung, so a win was vital to both causes. The Danes went to the break leading 16-12, but added valuable points in the second stanza that allowed them to hold their spot on the ladder while Valleys slipped back to seventh.

Round 16 preview:

The ‘Hutchinson Builders’ premiership ladder has still got plenty of traffic congested around fifth place and jostling for a foothold to become firmly positioned within the group of competition leaders. Yet again this weekend fixture results will have a bearing on a number of clubs clambering for a top five spot.

Competition co-leaders Highfields will be at home to the eighth placed Goondiwindi Boars at the Kuhls Road Complex, in what should be an interesting match. The Boars are coming off the bye round so well rested and have been showing signs that they will trouble teams on the upper end of the table as the season rolls down to the finals series. They caused a sensation in their last outing at home demolishing the luckless Oakey Bears 98-4.

Goondiwindi will need to be at full strength though to trouble Highfields who are achieving consistently flying just under the radar. They are a young side under the care of well respected coach Gus McKellar and at this stage making every post a winner.

The Souths Tigers have a second successive home game taking on the Gatton Hawks at Clive Berghofer Stadium. After the Tigers 24-70 loss to Wattles last Sunday, they are going to need to step up a few gears to hold a Hawks outfit still stinging from a rare loss last week. Gatton led the competition from Round 4 until last weekend and will fancy themselves against Souths as they press ahead to regain the leader status.

Gatton are a well balanced side with size and mobility in the forwards and bristling speed on the edges that will test the Tigers if they aren’t focused.

Valleys journey out to Clifton’s Platz Oval to meet Wattles sets up a match of urgency for both. Wattles are keen for a win so as not to fall out of the competition leading share arrangement with Highfields, whereas Valleys desperately need the win after easing in to the top five after Round 14 and then sliding out last weekend.

With Pittsworth, Dalby and Warwick all ahead of them a loss could almost see them fall from finals contention. Valleys have some class forwards, their front-row of James Crombie, Chris Richardson and Tyrone Jowett particularly impressive and will take the chase up to Wattles, but the home side also has a strong pack with the competition form halves in Matt Duggan and Brodie Ciesiolka orchestrating the plays to take full advantage of an abundance of speed out wide.

Not meaning to sound disrespectful, but the Brothers verses Oakey clash will be the battle of the cellar dwellers at Glenholme Park. After 14 rounds; Brothers have a single win to their credit and Oakey two successes. Whoever losses will settle at the base of the ladder.

‘Hutchinson Builders’ a Grade Premiership Ladder after Round 13: Wattles 22, Highfields 22, Gatton 20, Pittsworth 18, Dalby 17, Warwick 16, Valleys 15, Goondiwindi 8, Souths 5, Oakey 4, Brothers 3.

Round 16 Fixtures: Saturday – Highfields v Goondiwindi, Kuhls Road Complex, Highfields; Souths v Gatton, Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba; Sunday – Brothers v Oakey, Glenholme Park, Toowoomba; Pittsworth v Dalby, Pittsworth Rugby League Club; Wattles v Valleys, Platz Oval, Clifton; Warwick bye.