A wonderful clear day and a large crowd greeted clubs in this year’s Madsen Rasmussen Finals played for the first time at Herb Steinohrt Oval.
A GRADE FINAL: Dalby Diehards v Valleys Roosters
This season’s Madsen Rasmussen A Grade final produced more than what was expected with a wonderful game at Herb Steinohrt Oval.
Dalby entered the game as the undefeated front runners in the TRL competition whilst Valleys were playing as the underdogs, albeit at their home ground.
Valleys sent a clear message to the Diehards by scoring two tries in the first five minutes of the game.
Emmanuel Cerei scored out wide and converted his own try.
In the insuring set of six, Aaron Sillitoe bounced on a perfectly placed kick from Roosters fullback Dylan Chown.
Dalby were starved of the ball for a good part of the first 10 minutes, but when they had the ball, they grabbed the lead with tries to Alex Ambia and Corey Blades to make it 12-10.
The game settled down and was amazing to watch. Then one of the turning points occurred with gun prop Jason Wardrop accidentally copping an elbow when he went into a tackle, coming off worse for wear and due to this injury, he did not compete for the remainder of the match.
It was a huge blow for Dalby and to rub salt into the wounds, Mitchell Taylor also left the field with a knee injury and did not return.
At halftime, Dalby led 12-10.
Valleys and Dalby threw everything at each other in the second half in a high-quality match.
The defence was brutal at times with senior players in both sides leading from the front.
Valleys’ Brett Seymour and Dalby’s Steve Franciscus were excellent with Seymour awarded the prestigious Bill Pollard medallist.
The score did not change until Liam Capewell crossed for the Roosters in the 55th minute to regain the lead, but Dalby reacted well to score two tries to Blades and Zac Morris, making it 22-16 with 13 minutes remaining.
The scores were level after Jacob Ryals split the Diehards’ defence after a scrum to score the easiest of tries.
Following some nail-biting minutes, Seymour put up a pinpoint bomb deep in Diehards territory.
Ambia was ready to collect when Cerei swooped high to grab the kick and before hitting the ground, he offloaded to Hnaloan Budden to score under the posts.
Valleys were back in the lead 28-22 with eight minutes remaining.
Dalby tried hard to level the score, but Roosters hooker Nathan Bowering put the game beyond doubt with a clever dummy-half try to clinch this year’s Madsen Rasmussen title.
It was Dalby’s first loss of the season.
Their injury list is mounting whilst Valleys learnt from their loss to Dalby three weeks prior.
They muscled up early and reefed the benefit with good momentum.
They finished better than the Diehards and took their opportunities when presented to them.
Seymour led from the front and is not afraid to get his hands dirty.
Nick Sargent played the whole game for the Roosters and won the Hutchies player of the match whilst Reggie Munn turned Dalby around all day.
For the Diehards, Xavier Manley stood up after Wardrop went off and Corey Blades, Eli Wickham and Alex Ambia were always dangerous.
In the end, Valleys worked out Dalby’s defence and capitalised in a clever plan.
They deserved to win and will be a threat come September.
It was the first Madsen Rasmussen final played at Herb Steinhort Oval and the home side’s first mid-season finals win since 2009.
Valleys 34 (Emmanuel Cerei, Aaron Sillitoe, Liam Capewell, Jacob Ryals, Hnaloan Budden, Nathan Bowering tries; Emmanuel Cerei 5 goals) defeated Dalby 22 (Corey Blades 2, Zac Morris tries; Zac Morris 3 goals)
Bill Pollard Medallist: Brett Seymour (Valleys Roosters)
Thelma Pollard presents the Bill Pollard medal to Brett Seymour . PHOTO: The Chronicle
RESERVE GRADE FINAL: Gatton Hawks v Dalby Diehards
The last time these two side met, it was a 6-0 win to the Hawks.
This game was more of the same with excellent defence.
The scores were locked at 6-6 at halftime until Gatton’s Joel Dionysius broke the deadlock with a good try.
Dalby took the lead when Sam Thomasson streaked 70m after a Gatton drop ball to hand Dalby a 12-10 lead.
Ned Thomasson scored a minute later for Dalby to make it 16-10 with 15 minutes remaining.
Both teams tried hard to break through but the Diehards held on to win the Reserve Grade Madsen Rasmussen final and the second piece of silverware for the club on the day.
Dalby 16 (Michael Krause, Ned Thomasson, Sam Thomasson tries; Brenton McMillan 2 goals) defeated Gatton 10 (Cliff Brown, Joel Dionysius tries; Cory Schmidt goal)
Reserve Grade Player of the Final: Michael Krause (Dalby Diehards)
UNDER 18 FINAL: Dalby Diehards v Southern Suburbs Tigers
The Under 18 final sent the competition to another level with an entertaining game between the two participants.
The game started at a lightning pace and remained that way throughout the game.
The lead changed hands four times in the first stanza with no team getting any momentum.
Dalby held a slender 16-14 halftime lead and only saw one goal kicked from the Tigers.
Souths’ Jai Cooke burrowed over beside the posts to get the Tigers in front again just after half time to make it 20-16.
Dalby then scored three converted tries to take a sizeable 34-20 lead and was the turning point of the match.
Souths did get within four points to give the Diehards a fright late in the game, but Dalby hung on to win.
Both coaches were happy with their team’s efforts.
Dalby 34 (Lachlan Thomson 2, Travis Babington, Lewis Boyd, Bredon Green, Peter Langton, Travis Tate tries; Travis Babington 3 goals) defeated Souths 30 (Jai Cooke, Clayton Flute, Beau Mathers, Tate McCormick, Mitch Murphy, Sam Thomson tries; Angus Hearn 3 goals)
Under 18 Player of the Final: Travis Babington (Dalby Diehards)
SECOND DIVISION FINAL: Gatton Hawks v Warwick Cowboys
Gatton were the defending titleholders in this grade and surge to a 16-6 lead at halftime with tries to James Schroder, Harry Nielsen and Bruce Milsom.
The Hawks’ Frank Green scored to get his side to skip away with a 20-6 lead shortly after the break.
Warwick never gave up and Ben Eastwell gave the Cowboys a sniff, scoring to make the score 20-12.
It was a tough game worthy of a final with Gatton holding on to retain their title making it the sixth title in a row for coach Andrew Schmidt.
Gatton 20 (Frank Green, Bruce Milsom, Harley Nielsen, James Schroeder tries; Wes Murray, James Schroeder goals) defeated Warwick 12 (Ben Eastwell, David Hallman tries; Nick Cussen, Ken Parsons goals)
Second Division Player of the Final: RJ Grainger (Gatton Hawks)
The Toowoomba Rugby League competition resumes this weekend with Round 12 being played across the region.
For full results, ladders and upcoming fixtures of the Toowoomba Rugby League, visit the TRL website.