Toowoomba Rugby League QRL Correspondent Andrew O’Brien reviews Round 1 of the Hutchinson Builders TRL competition.
Pittsworth Danes v Dalby Diehards
In the grand final replay, defending premiers Dalby travelled to Club Pittsworth.
Both sides were missing key players however premiership-winning fullback Corey Blades made an unexpected return for the Diehards.
The Danes started the game well and raced to a 12-0 lead after six minutes.
Early exchanges saw both teams a little rusty, but then the match settled down and Dalby bounced back to take a slim 14-12 halftime lead.
Dalby’s Jason Wardrop dominated the game. He and veteran Steve Franciscus led their young side to a courageous win.
Wardrop was brilliant, scoring two crucial second half tries, gifting him a hattrick of four-pointers.
The game was high quality and both sides will certainly be in the mix come September.
Dalby’s Tom Boland is in for a long stint on the sidelines after suffering a shoulder injury, whilst Pittsworth’s gun signing, Kurtis Shayler sustained an ankle injury and may miss a few weeks.
DALBY 32 (Jason Wardrop 3, Chris Harwood, Zac Morris tries; Zac Morris 6 goals) defeated PITTSWORTH 30 (Jacob Little, Todd White, James Dempsey, Kurtis Shayler, Daniel Anderson tries; Greg Colbridge 5 goals)
RESERVE GRADE: Pittsworth 26 defeated Dalby 6
UNDER 18: Dalby 16 defeated Pittsworth 14
SECOND DIVISION: Pittsworth 22 drew Dalby 22
Wattles Warriors v Goondiwindi Boars
In a high quality, competitive game, the Goondiwindi Boars travelled to Clifton to take on Wattles.
The Warriors did not have it all their own way with the Boars only swaying late in the game.
English recruit Matt Gardner played well for the Boars, as did Levi Wilson who was a late call up after the withdrawal of Tyrell McCullough.
Despite the good performance from the Boars, Wattles’ Matt Duggan dominated the game when required and was the clear player of the match. Fullback Jackson Green also chimed in with a double.
WATTLES 26 (Jackson Green 2, Matt Duggan, Ryan Duggan, Jake Hargreaves tries; Matt Duggan 3 goals) defeated GOONDIWINDI 16 (Carl Clement, Josh Keoller, Levi Wilson tries; Matt Gardner 2 goals)
RESERVE GRADE: Wattles 36 defeated Goondiwindi 18
UNDER 18: Goondiwindi 54 defeated Wattles 6
Warwick Cowboys v Highfields Eagles
In a game of two halves, Warwick pipped Highfields at home to start their season.
The Cowboys delivered on their pre-season potential racing to a 20-0 lead.
Cowboys’ centre Joe Fuimaono was proving a handful for the Eagles, setting up tries and scoring one for himself.
Ben Sullivan was also very dominant, running out of dummy half.
Highfields started poorly, and their ball control was poor in hot conditions.
The Eagles’ new signing, Brandon George barged over for a much needed try just before halftime to give the Eagles some hope, still trailing 20-6.
In contrast to the first stanza, Highfields hit the ground running and dominated most of the second half.
They clawed their way back to draw level at 20-20 with five minutes remaining.
They starved the Cowboys of the ball and their big forwards struggled to defend for long periods in the conditions.
Jarred Lee was inspirational for the visitors’ comeback, but it wasn’t enough when Highfields conceded a penalty close to the uprights and Mick Bloomfield slotted the penalty goal to gift the Cowboys the two competition points.
Bloomfield, Sullivan, Fuimaono and young fullback Mitch Watson were instrumental in Warwick’s victory.
New coach, Phil Economidis celebrated his first TRL win, but said his side nearly penalised themselves out of the result with poor discipline – but he did say two premiership points are great no matter how you earn them.
Highfields coach Gus McKellar agreed his team let themselves down in the first half with sloppy ball control, but was happy with his team’s effort.
Lee along with Josh Everett, Blake Appo and Sean Loxley were the Eagles’ best.
WARWICK 22 (Joe Fuimaono, Coen Martin-Brown, Mitch Watson tries Kai Etherington 3, Michael Bloomfield 2 goals) defeated HIGHFIELDS 20 (Blake Appo, Brandon George, Braydon Mitchell tries; Sean Loxley 4 goals)
RESERVE GRADE: Highfields 40 defeated Warwick 12
UNDER 18: Highfields 40 d. Warwick 16
Valleys Roosters v Southern Suburbs Tigers
It was a try-a-thon at Herb Steinohrt Oval with last year’s minor premiers running in 12 tries to nil in a commanding display over the underdone Tigers.
The game was transferred to Valleys and the Roosters capitalised to make the rest of the competition take notice.
Last season’s club player of the year, Dylan Chown was player of the match for the home side, with Nathan Bowering and Jason Sharpe also playing well.
VALLEYS 62 (Nathan Bowering 2, Matthew Hawkins 2, Aaron Sillitoe 2, Roger Bartholomew, Hnaloan Budden, Dylan Chown, Cory McGrady, Hugh Sedger, Jason Sharpe tries; Dylan Chown 6, Hnaloan Budden goals) defeated SOUTHS 0
RESERVE GRADE: Valleys 22 defeated Souths 16
UNDER 18: Souths 26 defeated Valleys 8
Oakey Bears v Brothers Leprechauns
Oakey were successful at Trevor Mickleborough Oval on Sunday when they overcame a determined Brothers outfit to take the two competition points.
Valleys recruit Emmanuel Cerei was excellent for the Bears, whilst Sam Betros tried hard for Brothers.
The highlight of the day was an inspirational try to former NRL player, Mark Tookey.
Elvis Jensen pleased Oakey coach Tom Friend, who blamed their on-field discipline for allowing the opposition back into the game.
Brothers won the second half handsomely and left coach Chris McEwan with something to work with for next week’s encounter against Souths.
OAKEY 34 (Elvis Jensen 2, Dylan Adamson, Emmanuel Cerei, Chris Oliver, Mark Tookey tries; Dylan Adamson 5 goals) defeated BROTHERS 18 (Ricky Davies, Brent Edwards, Ethan Hearn, Kieron Price tries; Sam Betros goal)
RESERVE GRADE: Oakey 44 defeated Brothers 12
UNDER 18: Oakey 38 defeated Brothers 34
In the other TRL Under 18 match, Gatton started their season with a narrow 26-20 win over the South Burnett Eagles to claim the opening two points.
Prior to the match, both sides paid tribute to Hawks legend, John O'Brien, who passed away on Friday.
After the first round of competition, these are how the competition ladders stand:
A GRADE: Valleys 2, Oakey 2, Wattles 2, Warwick 2, Dalby 2, Gatton 0, Highfields 0, Pittsworth 0, Goondiwindi 0, Brothers 0, Souths 0
RESERVE GRADE: Oakey 2, Highfields 2, Pittsworth 2, Wattles 2, Valleys 2, Gatton 0, Souths 0, Goondiwindi 0, Dalby 0, Warwick 0, Brothers 0
UNDER 18: Goondiwindi 2, Highfields 2, Souths 2, Gatton 2, Oakey 2, Dalby 2, Pittsworth 0, Brothers 0, South Burnett 0, Valleys 0, Warwick 0, Wattles 0
SECOND DIVISION: Oakey 2, Dalby 1, Pittsworth 1, Brothers 0, Valleys 0, Warwick 0, Gatton 0, Stanthorpe 0
For full results, ladders and upcoming fixtures of the Toowoomba Rugby League, visit the TRL website.
Next Sunday, Toowoomba hosts the Round 3 NRL fixture between the Gold Coast Titans and St George-Illawarra Dragons at Clive Berghofer Stadium.