Coen Colts win Three Rivers Rugby League grand final

The Three Rivers Rugby League Open Men’s finals series, which is part of Remote Area Rugby League, was played at Hopevale on Saturday.

The grand final was played between minor premiers, Coen Colts and Hopevale Cockatoos who finished second on the ladder at the end of the regular season.

The Coen team had only one loss all season, while Hopevale had three wins, one draw and two losses.

Coen Colts ran in with seven tries and registered a convincing 34-16 win over Hopevale Cockatoos to claim the premiership title.

Amos Hobson was instrumental in with try assists and scored a double for the Colts, while Shaka Bero, Dylan Creek, Bobby Peter, John Gunnawarra and Puchaanu Creek each chipped in with one try.

Coen Colts go into a team huddle during the Three Rivers final series played at Hopevale
Coen Colts go into a team huddle during the Three Rivers final series played at Hopevale

The Cockatoos points came via two tries to Keithean Bowen and one to Coleridge Scotford.

The older players in the Coen team such as Hobson really drove the game, making lots of metres and led the team well with their experience and maturity.

In the first semi final, Coen Colts handed out a 64-16 defeat to Wujal-Wujal Yindili to earn their grand final berth.

The scoreline was a lot closer in the second semi final which saw Hopevale Cockatoos register a 26-18 victory over Pormpuraaw.

It was a mammoth effort by the Pormpuraaw team who travelled 11 hours, one way, to play in the semi finals after they finished the season third on the ladder.

Volunteers working hard behind the scenes at the Three Rivers Rugby League grand final at Hopevale
Volunteers working hard behind the scenes at the Three Rivers Rugby League grand final at Hopevale

Leon Barney from Pormpuraaw was the competition's top try scorer with eight tries and one goal for a total of 34 points, followed closely by Pormpuraaw team mate Kiren Tarpencha with two tries, one field goal and 12 goals to finish on 33 points.

The Three Rivers competition started eight years ago then went into hiatus for five years before being reignited in 2018. 

Since it started, it has gradually grown to include Coen, Hopevale, Pormpuraaw, Wujal-Wujal Yindili and Cooktown Crocs teams and is usually played over 10 rounds.

While there have been a number of challenges such as the logistics of distance and bringing teams together, the QRL has been great at promoting rugby league development in remote areas and providing opportunities for players to compete at regional level.

In May, junior representative teams from the Cape competed at the inaugural NQ Country trials held in Atherton where a number were selected for Marlins teams.

Bronson Ryan, who coached Coen Colts this year, was also selected as the representative coach for the Three Rivers team that competed in the Remote Areas Rugby League Challenge held in Cairns at the end of June.

It has been a great season for the Three Rivers competition and in 2020, there are plans to expand where it Kuranda will come on board.

Main image: Three Rivers Rugby League grand final winners Coen Colts team (red and black) with runners up Hopevale Cockatoos.