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Review: Rocky junior Grand Finals

Michael Fletcher – Rockhampton and District Junior Rugby League QRL correspondent

Rockhampton Juniors Fitzroys Under 15 GF
Fitzroy defeated Norths in the Under 15 Grand Final.

Saturday saw five fantastic Grand Finals to end the 2017 RDJRL International competition. In sensational sunshine all teams played with great spirit and entertained a large crowd at Browne Park.

Under 13: Brothers Blue V Cap Coast Brothers

Hot favourites Cap Coast Brothers came into the final undefeated but their chances of going back-to-back were hindered with half Owen Pattie out with a broken hand and fullback Casey Smith with the flu. But that did not stop the Coast Brethren when they pounced on a Rocky Brothers’ mistake and Ethan Bird scored first. Rocky Brothers started to get into the match and a very good backline move saw them get points through Kyidan Vea Vea out wide and the game was locked up. On the verge of halftime Rocky Brothers broke through when fullback Jack Wakeman scored and it was Rocky Brothers with their nose in front 8-4 at the break. The second half started well for both sides with some flowing attack, but it was Rocky Brothers defence that was holding strong and when they got into Cap Coasts 10m area Jackson Dingle grabbed an opportunity from dummy-half and scored for a 12-4 lead. Rocky Brothers put the game out of Cap Coast’s reach when a very good backline movement saw Bradley Taylor score and with the conversion from Cater Wright came a 18-4 lead. Cap Coast got a late try through Tynan Donovan but it was Brothers Blues day, running out premiers 18-4. Man of the match for Brothers Blue was Jayden Green who did not stop working all day for Rocky while front-rower Will Larsen was Cap Coast’s best on field.

Brothers Blue 18 (Jake Wakeman, Bradley Taylor, Kyidan Vea Vea, Jackson Dingle tries; Carter Wright 1 goal) def Cap Coast Brothers 8 (Ethan Bird, Tynan Donovan tries)

Man of the Match: Brothers – Jayden Green; Cap Coast Brothers – Will Larsen

Under 14: Brothers V Gracemere

Gracemere were first through to the Grand Final and they were determined to take some silverware home to the Cubs’ clubhouse. The game started with some very good defence from both sides and when things looked like staying the same Noah Chadwick was able to burrow his way over from dummy-half to get Brothers on the scoreboard first. Peyton Jenkins’ good conversion gave the Brethren a 6-0 lead. Brothers were soon on the attack again and second-rower Lincoln Pickering was able to go over for his first try and with the conversion it was a 12-0 lead. Gracemere never gave up and energetic fullback Corey Johns scored on halftime to get Gracemere back into the game and 12-4 was the halftime scoreline. The second half started like the first and Pickering was able to get over the line for his second try to extend the lead to 16-4. A penalty near the posts gave Brothers the opportunity to extend their lead and Peyton Jenkins slotted the kick for an 18-4 lead. Gracemere never gave up and when Matthew Park scored there was signs of a come back, but Brothers’ defence was too strong and Lincoln Pickering sealed a great game with his third try and a 22-8 victory to Brothers. Lincoln Pickering’s efforts sealed his Man of the Match award while Joshua Grange was a standout for Gracemere in defence.

Brothers 22 (Lincoln Pickering 3, Noah Chadwick tries; Peyton Jenkins 2 goals; Peyton Jenkins penalty goal) def Gracemere 8 (Corey Johns, Matthew Parke tries)

Man of the Match: Brothers — Lincoln Pickering; Gracemere – Joshua Grange

Under 15: Fitzroy V Norths

Norths were looking for the fairytale finish to the year after getting through from 4th spot on the table and the game could not have started better for the Knights when a very good kick-chase from Leyton Wood saw him grab a lose ball and run 50m to score first points. But it wasn't long before Fitzroy hit back with big front-rower Aaree Hirismaki diving over out wide for the Sharks’ first points and a great conversation from Brodie Gill gave a 6-4 scoreline. Then Sharks dummy-half Todd Tansey got into the game and scored two great tries to give the Sharks a 14-4 halftime lead. If Norths were to get back into the game they needed to score first and they did that through Harry Mcleod off a very clever short-side play, but that would be the end of the day for the Knights. Sharks hooker Todd Tansey got his third and Joe Callanan finished off a good backline movement to finish winners 22-8. For the Sharks, Tansey was a standout for Man of the Match while Norths centre Josh Wright had a strong game in the No.4 jersey.

Fitzroy 22 (Todd Tansey 3, Aaree Hirismaki, Joe Callanan tries; Brodie Gill Goal) def Norths 8 (Leyton Wood, Harry McLeod tries)

Man of the Match: Fitzroy – Todd Tansey; North's – Josh Wright

Under 16: Fitzroy V Brothers Blue

Brothers and Fitzroy had to go to extra time in the major semi-final and we were predicting that it could have been the same on Saturday, but the Sharks had other ideas. From the outset, Fitzroy dominated and Brothers didn't help themselves, making mistake after mistake. Fitzroy got off to an early lead after a mistake and Jacob Spank scored out wide. Leyton Milburn's conversation from the side line was the start of an outstanding kicking display. Another mistake and another try to Fitzroy when Riley Comiskey dived over, he then went back-to-back scoring another try and when Milburn ran over it was 24-0 at halftime. Brothers coach Adam Ballie had to get his troops back on track at the break and when Declan Huth scored from a kick they clawed back 6 points, but that would be the end for the Brethren when Aaree Hirismaki scored and then Aaron Moore - the game was over and Fitzroy were the premiers with a 36-6 victory. Riley Comiskey was dangerous all day and earned the Man of the Match award for the Sharks, while Brothers’ Liam Briggs was best on ground for the Brothers Blue side.

Fitzroy 36 (Riley Comiskey 2, Jacob Spark, Aaron Moore, Arree Hirismaki, Leighton Milburn tries; Leighton Milburn 6 Goals) def Brothers Blue 6 (Declan Huth tries; Chase Cavanagh Goal)

Man of the Match: Fitzroy — Riley Comiskey; Brothers – Liam Briggs

Under 18: Brothers V Norths

In the last game of the day Norths were chasing a Grand Final victory after going straight through to the big game while Brothers played knockout football to earn a shot at the title. Norths got off to the best start possible when Dylan Bateman scored out wide. With a great conversion from Corbin Ingram, the Knights led 6-0. It was then Ingram that got over the line and another sideline conversation had Norths flying. Brothers fought their way back into the game and Riley Shadlow crossed for a try and the Joe Shackleton conversation got Brothers back. But an error from the kick-off gave Norths field position and centre Kahlil Ganter scored out wide. With another great conversation from Ingram, Norths went out to an 18-6 lead. That try seemed to get Brothers going and they hit back with another Shadlow try and the on the stroke of halftime Corey Armstrong scored out wide and with the goal kickers on song Shackleton converted for an 18-18 halftime scoreline. The second half again produced some entertaining football. A try to Harrison Newton gave Brothers the lead then Norths hit back through Nyuland Johnson and the game was all tied up. With 11minutes remaining, Norths were given a penalty in front. They declined the kick and went for the maximum points but Brothers’ defence held strong and when Brothers got to the other end of the field they too were presented with two points. After a delay due to an injury to Norths second-rower John Savage, Brothers took the points and then had eight minutes to defend. Norths sent plenty of attack at the Brothers line but were unable to get over. Brothers’ Tom Farr sealed the win on fulltime with a try and Brothers’ Man of the Match Joe Shackleton slotted the sideline conversation after the bell for a 32-24 victory. For Norths captain Ricky McHugh was their best on ground.

Brothers 32 (Riley Shadlow 2, Corey Armstrong, Harrison Newton, Thomas Farr tries; Joe Shackleton 6 goals; Penalty Goal) def Norths 24 (Corbin Ingram, Kahlil Ganter, Nyuland Johnson, Dylan Baynton tries; Corbin Ingram 4 Goals)

Man of the Match: Brothers Joe Shackleton; Norths – Ricky McHugh

The RDJRL would like to thank the clubs, volunteers, players and supporters for a fantastic 2017 season. The Rockhampton Referees need plenty of thanks as many had to do back-to-back games during the season. The competition cannot be run without sponsors and we would like to thank Rockhampton Leagues Club, the Rockhampton Senior Rugby League, the CW Capras, NQ Cowboys, Brisbane Broncos and Amart All Sports. To the Under 18 players leaving the Junior Competition we wish to you all the best in your futures on and off the field.