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Gold Coast derby to decide Allan Langer Trophy

Gold Coast powerhouses Keebra Park State High School and Palm Beach Currumbin will face off in this year's Allan Langer Trophy decider after notching up comprehensive victories at yesterday's semi finals.

A Levi Jones hat-trick helped steer Keebra Park to a 32-8 win over Wavell; meanwhile, a masterclass from halves Ryan Rivett and Tom Weaver was the catalyst behind Palm Beach Currumbin's 34-6 domination of Ipswich.

Finishing third in the regular season, the 2017 National Schoolboy Cup winners turned up to play against Wavell in the opening match at Totally Workwear Stadium, forcing an error in the first tackle, before heaping the pressure on their opponent's goal line.

However, the Wavell defence held strong for the opening 15 minutes, until a set play caught their defence short on the left edge, with Jones - the competition's leading try-scorer - crossing for his first.

Five minutes later, Wavell thought they had levelled the scores when Junior Taungatua stripped the ball 10 metres from Keebra's line, but the four-pointer was denied when the referee deemed the tackle to have two players involved.

To rub salt into the wounds, Keebra Park piggy-backed up the field with two penalties before fullback Tuvalli Khan-Pereira chimed in nicely again for Jones to score his second in a carbon copy set play in the 22nd minute.

Despite trailing 12-0, Wavell wasn't ready to wave the white flag just yet with a fascinating last tackle play in the 26th minute; Jalen Afamasaga taking the line before finding Prinston Esera, who ran 40 metres to then pass inside to support-runner Isaiah Iongi to run the remaining 20 metres and score an all-important try to hit back.

Keebra Park SHS v Wavell SHS. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL
Keebra Park SHS v Wavell SHS. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL

In the final minute of the opening half, Keebra Park worked the length of the field from a 20-metre tap, with Jahream Bula breaking the line early in the tackle count to run 40 metres and score to make things extremely difficult for Wavell, who trailed 18-4 at the break.

Coach Glen Campbell had his side primed in the second 30, with Keebra Park actioning their favourite set play again for Jones to bring up his treble in the 38th minute.

More points came to the boys in blue in the 43rd minute as Klese Haas - younger brother of Payne - found his right winger and captain Trey Peni to score and all but put the game beyond doubt.

Keebra Park were in the face of Wavell for a majority of the match, forcing a number of goal line drop-outs, with a repeat set in the 50th minute resulting in Haas scoring a try for himself to seal the match.

Klese Haas in action for Keebra Park SHS. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL
Klese Haas in action for Keebra Park SHS. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL

Both teams were reduced to 12 when tensions flared in the 55th minute - Keebra Park's Khan-Pereira and Wavell's Taungatua both being sin-binned after being involved in a scuffle.

Wavell were able to cross for a consolation try through Mitch Goding, but Keebra Park were too big and too strong for the gallant Wavell.

The Keebra Park coach praised his side on sticking to the game plan.

“It’s been coming,” Campbell said to The Courier Mail.

“We’ve seen through our season that we’ve played some very good football for short periods and then we drifted away.

“We have plenty of points in us and if we defend well... the plan is to do that again because we’re not coming to play second.”

After conceding sizeable leads in their previous two matches, try-scoring machine Troy Duckett got Palm Beach Currumbin off to the best possible start in their semi against giant slayers Ipswich - mercurial halfback Tom Weaver throwing a face-ball to Duckett to cross only four minutes into the contest.

Troy Duckett crosses for Palm Beach's opening try. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL
Troy Duckett crosses for Palm Beach's opening try. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL

A number of errors for the Reds proved again to be their achilles heel as Ipswich hit back when a kick from Lachlan Williamson ricocheted off Palm Beach towards Deijion Leugaimafa, who scooped it up and offloaded to Caleb Jackson to score in the eighth minute.

Williamson's heroic conversion from the eastern touchline nudged Ipswich ahead 6-4, and they were able to hold out the juggernauts for the next 12 minutes, until a contentious penalty was awarded to Palm Beach when Ipswich were in possession 40 metres from their own line.

The Reds took advantage, with Weaver combining with halves partner Ryan Rivett to find Jaylan De Groot out the back to re-take the lead.

At half-time, the minor premiers held a slim 10-6 lead and had many on the edge of their seats wondering if Ipswich could continue on their fairytale run and pull off the upset of the season.

However, as seen time and time again this season, Palm Beach put their foot down in the second 30, with Deine Mariner on the end of a well-executed Weaver pass to cross in the left edge in the 38th minute to start the four-point flurry.

Ipswich didn't help out themselves by conceding an error, followed by a penalty to help with field position for Palm Beach's fourth try, some fancy footwork from Rivett allowing him cross for his first of the evening in the 46th minute.

The classy five-eighth didn't just score tries, but was also involved in another pin-point face-ball, finding the chest of Reef Sommerville to put the game beyond doubt with five minutes remaining.

The cherries were put on top by a burrowing run from dummy-half Taine Ujdur-Berghan to book a spot against arch-rivals Keebra Park in next Wednesday's all-Gold Coast decider.

Palm Beach Currumbin celebrate their win. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL
Palm Beach Currumbin celebrate their win. Photo: Cameron Stallard/QRL

Reds coach Brad Davis credited his side's win on effort.

"They were really good our halves,’’ Davis said to The Courier-Mail.

“But that came on the back of a lot of hard work.

“Ipswich really challenged us, they were really physical in defence and they were running really hard.

“For us it took a lot of effort on effort to really get on top of them.

“Having said that, what a preparation, a good, tough finals win.’’

The Allan Langer Trophy grand final will kick off at 5.15pm next Wednesday at Totally Workwear Stadium.

Another cross-city schoolboys derby will feature next week, with Townsville rivals Kirwan State High School facing off against Ignatius Park in the Aaron Payne Cup decider.

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