Obee’s preview - 2016 TRL grand finals
The senior Toowoomba Rugby League grand finals will be played this Sunday, September 18 at Clive Berghofer Stadium. Toowoomba Rugby League correspondent Andrew O'Brien runs through the games.
Second Division 9.30 am – Gatton v Dalby
This game sees fifth-placed Dalby against minor premiers Gatton.
Dalby have come the hard way and have had some close wins.
They will need to lift if they are to trouble this experienced Hawks outfit who were brutal against Brothers in the major semi-final.
Dalby have nothing to lose and will be ready to go and will be supported by a good crowd.
Luke Tarrant and Travis Pickering are the key.
If Tarrant can pick up Pickering in full flight near Hawks line, it will go a long way to helping Dalby’s chances; whereas Gatton have a little general by the name of Wes Murray.
His organising of his forwards has been the catalyst of their year.
He has big boppers like Zac Linde, Brendan Simpson and Errol Joseph who were excellent in the major semi against Brothers.
The Second Division has been a revelation for the clubs.
Their enthusiasm and competitiveness has been enjoyable to watch.
It’s the Hawks in this one.
Under 18 11am – Valleys v Warwick
The quality of the Under 18s final series is to be congratulated.
No doubt there will be spotters watching this final with interest.
Valleys will be disappointed if they do not finish off the season.
They have the players to do the job. I have been impressed mostly with their high completion rate which has served them well all season.
Patrick Randall and Wally Peglar are class players and Joshua Foster’s three “game changing” tries were excellent in the major semi.
Warwick were great last week to come from a 12-point deficit to outlast Pittsworth in extra time.
Angus Croft and Harry Sullivan will need to be on their game if they are challenge the minor premiers.
Will Dearden and his troops will need to hang onto the ball in this game as the mistakes they made in the major semi saw them without the ball for long periods.
Valleys are my tip!
Reserve Grade – 12.45pm Gatton v Valleys
A repeat of last year’s decider. These two teams have a great rivalry in this grade of a few years now and this clash is shaping up as the game of the day.
Both teams have been in tremendous form but Valleys have come from fifth and I think the week off will favour the Hawks.
Gatton ooze talent with Aaron Werth, Riley Godwin and Alex Groves in excellent form, whereas Valleys Reggie Munn is a try scoring machine.
His fellow backrow of Matt Kelly and Daniel Bain hold the key to their success.
Gatton have been in the Reserve Grand final for the last four years and the nucleus of the side is still intact. Look for Werth to lead by example with hooker Jagan Swan being a big game player.
Coach Andrew Schmidt has a chance to grab two titles as he also coaches Hawks Second Division, an achievement within itself.
I still expect Valleys to be no pushover. Halves Matt Schulze and Josh Hancock are pretty classy players in their own right.
Hawks in a close one!
A Grade – 2.30pm – Pittsworth v Warwick
By the time kick off is upon us, I believe this will be one of the most anticipated grand finals in recent years.
Both teams, both towns and both supporters are evenly matched. The atmosphere will be wonderful.
I’m expecting Warwick to be better than they were in the major semi-final. Their defence will need adjusting to counter Shayler and Wilson.
Pittsworth will need to lift another cog and bring something different to table to lift the trophy.
I’m looking forward to a number clashes; including Fuimaono clash with Kofe who both have similar styles.
The Halves battle will see McIvor/Cantwell v O’Sullivan/Dempsey and each pairing have been in excellent form.
The real battle I’m looking forward to is up front.
Richardson and Broomhall have been a revelation for the Cowboys, whilst York and Carpenter are clever players for the Danes.
Both coaches need a mention. Craig Mullaly is a very unassuming coach and has kept it simple for his team whereas Ian Brackstone knows which buttons to push to get his team ready.
I don’t think they will need much to motivate their troops come 2.30pm, but it will be like a chess match.
Each side have their strengths. Pittsworth have been successful using York and Carpenter out wide whereas the Cowboys muscle have been their key in their “go forward”.
For the first time this season I think the Cowboys are slight underdogs for this game after Pittsworth’s major semi win.
But I’m betting this game will be a survival of the fittest and it will go right down to the wire as I cannot see either team getting a good lead in the game. All the best to both teams.
I take this opportunity, on behalf of Cookie and myself to thank the clubs for their support in our inaugural year, especially the coaches who have been tremendous.
We are certainly in an age where culture in our competition is the backbone of our success.
Cookie and I hope we have bought a fresh look at grassroots footy.
We have signed on for the next three years and we look forward to bring the game to the clubs and get to know you all even better.