What a weekend of games in the Central Highlands for Round 5 with two nail-biters in Emerald and Springsure!
The Clermont Bears have earned top spot on the ladder following a 44-26 win against the Middlemount Panthers in Clermont on Saturday.
Both teams were neck and neck at halftime with the scores level at 18-18, but the Bears kicked into gear in the second stanza and scored five tries to Middlemount’s two.
Dean Williams was on fire once again for the Bears, bagging two tries to make his return season worthwhile. Jack Slattery also scored two tries on the wing.
It was a tough road trip for the Panthers only fielding 15 due to work commitments and injury.
Joel Duffy played well in the halves after the week off last Saturday and experienced playmaker Mitch Wyatte also returned from injury to contribute with a try.
The loss to Clermont is their second in a row, but a home game next weekend might help the boys in blue get back in the winner’s circle.
The Emerald Cowboys and Bluff Rabbitohs could not be separated after 80 minutes, recording a 30-30 draw on Saturday night.
At one stage in the game, the Rabbitohs led 30-16 with many thinking that the game was gone for the Cowboys, but the home side weren’t prepared to give up without a fight.
Lock forward and Emerald Star Hotel player of the match, Ali Hromadzic was the man to stand up for the Cowboys, producing some metre-gaining hit ups, giving his side a boost to score three tries in the last 20 minutes to draw level with the visitors.
Bluff captain/coach Chris Conway was outstanding at five-eight in place of the injured Peter McLaughlin, scoring three tries and steering his team around the park.
The Rabbitohs would be disappointed with themselves being awarded two penalties only 10m out in the last minute of the game and opting to take the tap both times instead of kicking for the potentially match-winning two points.
Only taking home one of the two competition points on offer may prove costly come finals time.
The nail-biting footy didn’t end there.
Sunday afternoon footy delivered once again in Springsure with the inform Mountain Men taking on a determined Emerald Tigers outfit in the Paul Taylor Memorial clash.
The Springsure Mountain Men were first to score in the opening minute, but then conceded 22 unanswered points in the next 35 minutes before the home side broke the drought in the final minute of the first half with a Charlie Mayne special.
Heading into the sheds at halftime down 22-10, the Mountain Men fired up early in the second half to reduce the deficit and then allow the score to see-saw throughout the game with both teams replying to each other’s scoring efforts, keeping everyone at the ground and listening at home on the edge of their seats.
Despite the frantic final minutes, the Emerald Tigers were able to hold on and claim their first ever Paul Taylor win after three years, defeating the Mountain Men 32-26.
Ryley Parter, playing as utility off the bench, was the Tigers’ best and was named the Paul Taylor Memorial player of the match and Emerald Star Hotel player of the match.
For Springsure, Nick Hafey was named the Paul Taylor Memorial player of the match and earned three Jim Gallagher points for his efforts in the back row.
If only these two sides could play off every week – in the last three times these sides have met for the Paul Taylor clash, they’ve delivered absolutely cracking matches.
The Taylor Family with the Springsure Mountain Men and Emerald Tigers.
In the earlier match, the Tigers secured a big 72-0 victory against the Cowgirls in the first Women’s premiership match hosted in Springsure.
Bonnie Walsh was the standout back in the halves as the rudder for the Tigers, bagging two tries and ensuring her side worked both sides of the field.
The Tigers’ backline was also on fire with both wingers; Tamyra Hunter and Taylah Moana each scoring a double and centres Maddie Edmonds and Arnika Cave also scoring run away tries.
The Cowgirls gave it their all with only 13 players and they should be commended on their effort.
Caitlyn Sheehan, who celebrated her 18th birthday yesterday, tackled the house down at dummy-half and Layne Dobbie’s defensive effort on the left edge should be commended.
It was always going to be a tough task for the Cowgirls with over seven players out injured but hopefully some will return this weekend against an understrength Bears outfit.
Predicting the four teams who will play finals at this early stage is harder than trying to find a needle in a haystack with a blindfold on. Only time will tell as to who will get a start in mid-August.
ROUND 5 RESULTS
BLACKWATER CRUSHETTES 20 defeated DYSART BULLS LADIES 0 (Forfeit)
EMERALD TIGERS LADIES 72 (Bonnie Walsh 2, Tamyra Hunter 2, Taylah Moana 2, Maddie Edmonds, Casey Watkins, Kiri Samson, Arnika Cave, Nioaka Ross, Kelsie Parter, Stacey Kirkman tries; Maddie Edmonds 6, Maria Rawiri 4 goals) defeated EMERALD COWGIRLS 0
BLACKWATER CRUSHERS 20 defeated DYSART BULLS 0 (Forfeit)
CLERMONT BEARS 44 (Jack Slattery 2, Dean Williams 2, Brodee Barrett, Calin Schrader, Patrick Payne, Tom Murray, Dylan Breckon tries; Brodee Barrett 2, Brodie Perry 2 goals) defeated MIDDLEMOUNT PANTHERS 26 (Joel Duffy 2, Mitch Wyatte, Matt Heidecker, Jack Lonergan tries; Matt Heidecker 3 goals)
EMERALD COWBOYS 30 (Tim Kemp 2, Nathan Horn, Andrew Doyle, Ali Hromadzic, Jamie Rogers tries; Sam Clayton 3 goals) drew BLUFF RABBITOHS 30 (Chris Conway 3, Ben Byrne, Branden Ferguson tries; Reece Williams 5 goals)
EMERALD TIGERS 32 (Dywayne Rigby 2, Paul Bone 2, Ryley Parter, Nets Rarokoliwa tries; Josh Cavanagh 2, Gavin Power, Steven Hoek goals) defeated SPRINGSURE MOUNTAIN MEN 26 (Charlie Mayne 3, Ray Ebsworth, Nick Hafey tries; Ray Ebsworth 3 goals)
Men’s Ladder after Round 5: Clermont 8, Springsure 6, Blackwater 6, Middlemount 6, Tigers 6, Bluff 5, Cowboys 3, Dysart 0
Women’s Ladder after Round 5: Tigers 8, Clermont 8, Blackwater 6, Cowgirls 4, Dysart 2
For the full draw, results, ladders and upcoming fixtures of the Central Highlands Rugby League, visit www.chrugbyleague.com.au.