Diehards hold on for crucial win

Valleys Diehards survived a late scare from rivals Albany Creek Crushers, holding on for an epic 24-18 victory in their Open 1 Northside clash at Emerson Park.

The Diehards battled bravely against the Crushers and secured a much-needed win to remain clear of the bottom of the ladder.

The Crushers posted their first try of the afternoon in the 12th minute through prop Tai Vaavale, who charged onto the ball to score right beside the uprights.

With a decent crowd on hand, Valleys responded seven minutes later, with flying winger Matt Dunphy using his blistering pace to sneak down the touchline to return serve.

Up the middle is where the action was, with 300-game veteran Mick Battye and Moe Tere-Vaka absolutely outstanding for the home side.

However, in the 27th minute, Crushers halfback Matt Lennon used his experience to spot a gap and raced away to put Albany Creek back in front.

Despite being low on the ladder, Valleys came to fight and a well-placed, no-look pass from Diehards halfback Harrison Murphy found an eager Darcy Rose, who collided with the Crushers defence to plant the ball down amongst the carnage.

Albany Creek had one last roll of the dice to cross in the first half, only to be caught with the ball on the last tackle with both teams sharing a 12-12 scoreline at the break.

Diehard Brock Nelson capitalised on some lazy Crushers defence to dummy his way through and open the scoring in the second half.

Albany Creek found some extra spark through coach Shane Rout with a couple of handy replacements.

The bench lifted a gear with some surging runs from powerhouse forwards Vaavale, Ewan Coutts and Paki Nepa.

However, Valleys were having none of this and stepped it up a gear themselves to send in winger Blaid Pakura who made no mistake scoring out wide.

A second Diehards try to brilliant five-eighth Nelson looked certain to wrap the game up with five minutes remaining, but one last ditched effort by Crushers fullback Roddy Faapito (who played the entirety of the game with a broken thumb) found lock Coutts who strolled in to see the score pegged back to 24-18.

With a minute remaining on the clock and with the crowd on their feet, the last 60 seconds provided the most entertaining passage of play that saw Albany Creek nearly score on three occasions in the set.

Amazingly, the Diehards muscled up brilliantly to complete what was arguably their best win of the year in a game played right down to the wire.

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*Mike Simpson is a QRL Correspondent covering Rugby League Brisbane