Logan Wanderers advanced in the InTech Rugby League Brisbane cross-river finals series with a hard fought 10-4 victory over Aspley Devils on Saturday.
Defence was the highlight of a low scoring, but high quality Open 3 elimination final as part of the new-look finals series.
Logan had the first shot at the try line in the 17th minute when centre Simon Hadfield took advantage of an overlap and stretched out to score.
The vibrant and vocal crowd was almost like a carnival atmosphere at John Fredrich Oval, with both sets of supporters spurring on their respective teams.
It didn’t take long for Logan to use this to their advantage, when speedy winger Aaron Kohai showed blistering pace and had the Aspley defence at sixes and sevens as he burst down the sideline to score in the corner and extend the lead.
Those early flourishes made way for a defensive battle for the remainder of the 80-minutes.
Aspley boasted former Brisbane Broncos behemoth Robert Tanileu who made his presence felt throughout the game, as did Logan’s Selwyn Te Whaiti and Jay West who were leading from the front for the Wanderers.
At 8-0 down, the Devils nearly went in on two separate occasions, only to be held up by the Logan brick wall that awaited them.
Logan themselves returned serve becoming more enthusiastic and robust as the seconds ticked away before halftime, nearly going in twice only to be held up by the Devils.
A superb cut-out pass by Logan halfback Nutana Vercoe to his winger Ron Hall nearly saw the Wanderers increase the score line before the break, however he was bundled into touch right on the hooter.
The defensive efforts in the first half set the standard before both teams found another gear in the second half with even more impressive displays.
However, the difference between the two sides was inspirational Logan halfback Vercoe who was the best on the park.
A target all game due to his elusiveness, the playmaker punched well above his weight.
On several occasions, it was the diminutive half who steered the Logan ship around the park which eventually got them the win.
Aspley were still in the fight and in the 49th minute of play finally got on the board through powerhouse Tanileu.
Logan’s defence was no match for the gigantic front-rower close to the line, as he powered his way over to see the Devils trailing 8-4.
Logan pressed on though after that try, shifting the momentum back their way.
Orchestrating play, Vercoe twice looked like he had set up the decisive try only for the Devils to rush up and knock the ball down to cut off the play.
Tension continued to mount until Aspley’s fate was sealed when they gave away a penalty right in front in the final moments.
Hero of the day Vercoe made no mistake, slotting the easiest of conversions to see the Wanderers complete what was a magnificent game of rugby league.
Logan take on North Lakes this weekend for a chance to qualify in the preliminary final.