The Murgon Mustangs are celebrating after wrapping up this year's South Burnett Rugby League season with a victory in the A Grade grand final before an enthusiastic home crowd.
It’s been a big year for the Mustangs club overall, with milestones such as new changing rooms, multiple carnivals and taking home the minor premiership in A Grade to cap things off.
Grand final day was always going to be huge at Murgon Showgrounds – with trophies to be decided in Under 12s and Under 14s as well as the senior competition – and the crowd responded.
Supporters gathered around the ground behind balloons and banners.
The windy conditions played havoc with goal kicking, and the dust added an extra flavour to everything, but all three games were close and played in good spirit.
The A Grade grand final was a lot closer than the final scoreline indicated, with the Hornets dominating the first 25 minutes of the game and testing Murgon for most of the 80 minutes.
Cherbourg scored first via Richard Conlon just after kick-off, and then mounted multiple attacks on the Mustangs’ line for at least 10 minutes, starving Murgon of possession.
Unfortunately for the Hornets’ fans, they weren’t able to convert this pressure into points.
Barwoo Fisher put the Mustangs’ first points on the board with 26 minutes left in the half.
The wind, which had been playing havoc with goal attempts across grades all day, struck again and Lewis Hopkins’ conversion attempt hit the posts and was waved away to keep the score at 4-4.
When Arthur Saltner crossed for Murgon just minutes later, there were celebrations on the field and in the stands as Murgon had now hit the front for the first time.
With 12 minutes to go until the break, a Cherbourg player was sent to the sin bin, but the loss didn’t stop the Hornets from scoring almost immediately.
Norman Wragge’s try again evened the score again, 8-8.
However, a Mark Saltner try just four minutes later meant Murgon went into halftime ahead 12-8.
Murgon were the first to draw blood in the second half with Barwoo Fisher scoring his second try.
This time the conversion was successful and Murgon’s lead had extended to 18-8.
Ten minutes later the Hornets struck back, with Kenneth Bone narrowing the gap and Bernard Hopkins adding the extras.
With the clock ticking down, Murgon was ahead but Cherbourg weren’t about to give in and at times looked set to overpower the home team.
But some Murgon magic in the last 10 minutes led to tries by Elwyn Fewquandie and Eric Law Jnr, blowing the scoreline out to 28-14.
The Under 12s Grand Final between the Kingaroy Red Ants and the Nanango Stags couldn’t have been much closer to start the day.
At halftime, the scores were locked at 12-12.
Defence was fierce, with players from both sides held up over the line and others tackled into touch, saving certain tries.
With just a few minutes left on the clock, Nanango went within a whisker of levelling the scores again, but unfortunately for Stags’ fans, the grounding was ruled short of the line and the Red Ants claimed victory.
If the Under 12 final was close, the low-scoring Under 14s game was an even tighter arm-wrestle.
Nanango and Murgon had shared the glory all season so there was only an iota separating them on Saturday.
At halftime, Murgon were ahead 2-0 courtesy of a penalty goal kicked by Joseph Meikle which hit the posts and went over.
At fulltime, the teams were 10-10.
Five minutes were then played each way (not golden point) to determine a winner.
Three minutes into the first stanza of extra time, the Stags’ Bayden Alexander crossed to give Nanango a four-point lead, which they defended for the rest of extra time to claim victory.
And in good news from Toowoomba, the South Burnett Eagles defeated Brothers 18-12 in the TJRL Under 17 Girls Preliminary Final on Saturday.
They’ll now play Gatton in the grand final on Saturday at Clive Berghofer Stadium.
Grand final results
Murgon 28 (Barwoo Fisher 2, Arthur Saltner, Mark Saltner, Elwyn Fewquandie, Eric Law Jnr. tries; Lewis Hopkins 2 goals) defeated Cherbourg 14 (Richard Conlon, Norman Wragge, Kenneth Bone tries; Bernard Hopkins goal)
Kingaroy 18 (Harrison Braithwaite, Edward Riley, Davonte Swan tries; Thomas Frohloff, Edward Riley, Harrison Braithwaite goals) defeated Nanango 12 (William Esen 2 tries; Isaiah Smallwood, Slater Green goals)
Nanango 14 (Jayden Tewes-Smallwood, Jamahl Turner-Smallwood, Bayden Alexander tries; Jayden Tewes-Smallwood goal) defeated Murgon 10 (Noel Walsh 2 tries; Joseph Meikle goal)