The Brisbane Second Division Rugby League’s inaugural “Cross River Challenge’ kicked off last Saturday at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park featuring the grand final winners from both North and South Divisions.
It’s easy to see why there has been an overwhelming interest in this concept; and it was a fantastic crowd that passed through the turnstiles on the day.
The event was not only a chance for the participating teams to claim bragging rights; it also showcased the phenomenal talent on show right across the divisions.
The Under 19S match between Easts Juniors and Narangba Rangers kicked off in the early morning, setting the pace for the day.
The Tiger cubs were playing on home ground of their “big brothers” and had their supporters in raptures after claiming the first trophy 56-18.
Take nothing away from Narangba, the Northside champions took on the Tigers head on until the latter stages of the game when Easts ran in five unanswered tries.
Tigers Jake Shaw, Jayden Aramoana and Luke Self were superb and with the Rangers boasting Terence Casey-Douglas and Dalton Pegoraro in their squad, it was a great way to kick off the tournament.
The second match played between Open 3 sides Pine Central Holy Spirit and Jimboomba Thunder went down to the wire.
However, the Hornets too good on the day, running out winners 34-22.
Hornets Alex Braun, Ezra Ellis and Anthony Braun were solid for the Northside, whilst for the Thunder, explosive forward Jayme Kupfer and halfback Ben Francis were outstanding.
The Open 2 challenge between Banyo Devils and Beenleigh Pride shaped to be a cracker of a game, considering what both clubs had achieved all season.
The Devils were fantastic in the back end of the season and showed why they were worthy champions, beating a gallant Pride 34-30.
Devils coach Justin Klumpp was a proud man, holding aloft the inaugural trophy and his best players on the park were powerful centre Rob Denyer (arguably the Devils most consistent player all year) and Callum Davies, who seems to get better each game he plays.
For the Pride, prop William Levu was devastating up the middle and tearaway forward Saega Malisi was near unstoppable. Pride coach Kevin Roy has all the makings of another premiership-winning side in season 2018.
The last game of the day saw an increase in the quality of football on show.
The Beenleigh Pride have scooped every award this season and were also close winners in the Open 1 challenge, claiming the honours 18-10 over Brothers Juniors.
Prolific point scoring machine and captain Craig Chapman rounded off an incredible year by leading his side to a well-earned victory.
Chapman, who is in the running for Open 1 player of the year award, showed no signs of slowing down and has been one of the form players this season. He was well served by five-eighth Henry Cope and centre Joe Richards.
Foe the Brethren, hooker Ben Donaldson and prop Matt Crear served the Leprechaun’s well.
After a torrid grand final against Dayboro, the butcher stripes showed an incredible amount of heart to try and match it with the Pride, but unfortunately for them, the Pride have been unstoppable all season.
Under 19: Easts Juniors 56 def Narangba Rangers 18
Open 3: Pine Central Holy Spirit 34 def Jimboomba Thunder 22
Open 2: Banyo Devils 34 def Beenleigh Pride 30
Open 1: Beenleigh Pride 18 def Brothers Juniors 10