The Stanley River Wolves completed a season-returning fairy tale, defeating the Caboolture Snakes 28-16 to win this year's Sunshine Coast / Gympie Vantage Homes Cup Division 1 decider.
With almost 4000 raucous fans and spectators at Sunshine Coast Stadium, grand final day concluded with the reborn Wolves claiming the title at their first attempt since 2002 by defeating the Snakes.
The feat was a repeat of history 40 years previously, when the Wolves defeated Caboolture in another A Grade final, proving that lightning can indeed strike twice.
Rushing out of the blocks faster than Usain Bolt, Caboolture’s Aaron Clode scored out wide from an offload by Connor Cox in the third minute after some slick back-line play.
Seven minutes later, Jackson Moule scored near the posts after a deft in-goal kick by Scott Maddick.
Converted by Andrew Davies, the Snakes led 10-0 and looked on song against a Wolves side struggling to find its rhythm.
But that would be the end of Caboolture’s points until the 79th minute as the team from Woodford re-grouped.
After stretching play from touch line to touch line, Connor Jackson eventually posted Stanley River's first try after taking out the corner post to make it 10-4.
No nonsense defence and robust tackling from both sides prevailed until four minutes from the break when Wolves co-captain and eventual player of the match, Tom Murphy scored a converted try to make it 10-10.
Reminiscent of the preliminary final where Caboolture were run down after leading 14-10 at halftime, Stanley River gathered momentum to once again dominate the second half with tries to Ryley Kajewski in the 51st minute and Brett Doherty in the 56th minute to race to a 22-10 lead.
Two penalty goals to Doherty and a try to Brodie Sharman saw the Wolves lead by 18 points and suddenly, time was against the Snakes.
Caboolture's Jessy Besselaar crossed for a consolation try in the 79th minute, but it was a case of too little too late when Davies converted from the touch line as the full time whistle blew, showing that sometimes, just sometimes, fairy tales do come true with Stanley River completing a dream return to the Division 1 competition.
In a wonderful entertaining game of rugby league in the Vantage Homes Cup Division 2A final, Coolum hung on to beat minor premiers Beerwah 20-16.
Leading 20-10 with nine to go, Beerwah stormed back into the match with a converted try to Luke Philip and then with just 4 minutes remaining, Coolum defenders had to push the Beerwah winger into touch on the try line before laying claim to their second consecutive title.
With both team scoring three tries, it was the goal-kicking of Coolum’s Jackson Shearer and Keir Nicholls that proved the difference, whilst Shearer directed his team around the Stadium all afternoon.
Colts' Will Sullivan was judged the player of the match.
A three-try haul from fullback Mitchell Braun and a double to centre and player of the match Ashley Mumby saw minor premiers Beachmere claim the Division 2B Vantage Homes Cup title as they defeated the Kilcoy Yowies.
Kilcoy were on the back foot from the kick-off after the ball went untouched over the dead ball line, while early penalties enabled Beachmere to go on the attack as Braun scored the first of his triple after just four minutes.
With play see-sawing up and down the field, the Yowies' four-try hero from the previous week, Trae Storr, crossed in the 28th minute after some good lead up work by Steve Reay to make it 4-4, but that would be the end of the scoring for the lads from Kilcoy as Braun sliced through for his second just two minutes before halftime to lead 10-4.
When Braun crossed for his third, six minutes into the second half, Beachmere had one hand on the trophy at 16-4.
Two tries to Mumby, a late penalty to Jake Wood and some solid defence saw the Pelicans keep Kilcoy scoreless in the second half to make it 26-4 at the final siren.
In the WIN TV Under 18 Cup, minor premiers Kawana defeated Beachmere 34-0, rattling up 28 unanswered points in the first half to hold a comfortable lead at the break.
In a dominating display, the Dolphins were too big, too strong and too fast across the field for the Pelicans who tried hard all game.
Three tries to Jack Aiken and three goals to Joseph Lowe complemented Jake Zammit’s performance for Kawana as player of the match.
As part of the day, the race to determine the fastest man and woman over 100 metres from the SCGRL were held at halftime of the main game.
Congratulations to Noosa's Jessica Taylor on winning the women’s and Kawana's Henderson Godfrey, who won in a tight finish in the men’s title.
The SCGRL would like to thank all those who contributed to make grand final day at Sunshine Coast Stadium such a success.
Grand final results
Vantage Homes Cup Division 1
Stanley River 28 (Connor Jackson, Brodie Sharman, Ryley Kajewski, Thomas Murphy, Brett Doherty tries; Brett Doherty 4 goals) defeated Caboolture 16 (Aaron Clode, Jessy Besselaar, Jackson Moule tries; Andrew Davies 2 goals)
Vantage Homes Cup Division 2A
Coolum 20 (Jake Bartel, Jordan Line, Luke Philp tries; Jackson Shearer 3, Keir Nicholls goals) defeated Beerwah 16 (James Soanes, Rakari Kake, Tony Ainsworth tries; Tony Ainsworth 2 goals)
Vantage Homes Cup Division 2B
Beachmere 26 (Mitchell Braun 3, Ashley Mumby 2 tries; Jake Wood 3 goals) defeated Kilcoy 4 (Trae Storr try)
WIN TV Under 18 Cup
Kawana 34 (Jack Aiken 3, Ethan Akers, Lucas Bell, Sam Reid, Kaleb Sutton tries; Joseph Lowe 3 goals) defeated Beachmere 0