The Souths Mackay Sharks clinched victory in a nail-biting finish to the Highlands Hit Out rugby league carnival held in Emerald at the weekend.
Four men’s and four women’s teams played off at McIndoe Park on Saturday in the 13-a-side, modified format with over 500 people in attendance to get their first local footy fix of the new season.
The Purcell’s Engineering men’s division final was a thriller between the visitors and the Clermont Bears, keeping supporters on the edge of their seats right to the very end.
Both teams were locked in an arm wrestle, but nearing halftime, the first points came in the last minute, with Blake Draber scoring a ‘super try’ under the posts to give his side a 6-0 lead at the halfway mark.
Following the break, Clermont continued to pressure Souths’ defensive line and seven minutes into the second stanza, Will Goodland broke through and scored to bridge the gap and trail 6-4.
With plenty of local support for the Bears, their goal-line defence was constantly tested by the persistent Souths outfit, and with 30 seconds on the clock, the visitors were able to break through, as Luke Vaccaneo strolled over to guarantee a 10-4 victory.
In the Allied Pickfords women’s division, the Blackwater Crushettes were crowned champions, keeping their undefeated run intact with an 18-10 results against the Emerald Cowgirls in the decider.
Both teams brought their "a-games" for the finale, but the Crushettes’ experience showed, making fewer mistakes and capitalising on the opportunities presented.
Blackwater’s Annedel Dargan was the standout in the big dance, bagging a hattrick of tries to ensure her side lifted the silverware.
Emerald Tigers’ Isaiah Huet was named player of the carnival in the men’s division for his solid defence and attacking flair at fullback and for the women, it was Dysart new recruit Layla Fauid who claimed player of the carnival honours for her workload up front.
The Central Highlands Men’s and Women’s representative sides were also selected at the carnival and will be announced publicly next week.
2018 HIGHLANDS HIT OUT RESULTS
Purcell's Engineering Men's division
Clermont Bears 10 defeated Emerald Tigers 4
Souths Mackay 20 defeated Emerald Cowboys 0
Clermont Bears 10 defeated Emerald Cowboys 4
Souths Mackay 28 defeated Emerald Tigers 8
Souths Mackay 0 drew Clermont Bears 0 (both teams agreed to forfeit in readiness for GF)
Emerald Tigers 8 defeated Emerald Cowboys 8 (first try scorer)
GF: Souths Mackay 10 defeated Clermont Bears 4
Allied Pickfords Women's division
Blackwater Crushettes 12 defeated Emerald Cowgirls 8
Dysart Bulls Ladies 10 defeated Emerald Tigers Ladies 6
Emerald Cowgirls 20 defeated Dysart Bulls Ladies 6
Blackwater Crushettes 12 defeated Emerald Tigers Ladies 4
Blackwater Crushettes 16 defeated Dysart Bulls Ladies 10
Emerald Cowgirls 14 defeated Emerald Tigers Ladies 0
GF: Blackwater Crushettes 18 defeated Emerald Cowgirls 10
Full results of the carnival are available online at www.chrugbyleague.com.au.