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Mustangs and Falcons aim to close inaugural season on a high

The final round of the Harvey Norman Under 19 competition will be played this week and one of the big clashes will take place at the Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba, with the Western Mustangs and Sunshine Coast Falcons facing off.

Clive Berghofer Stadium has played host to games featuring Test, state and Clydesdales stars and on Saturday, the young Falcons and Mustangs girls will be playing on the sacred Toowoomba ground.

Both sides haven’t just had to overcome the opposition this inaugural season, but also the tyranny of distance.

“We have five girls that come from Roma to play, so we don’t train together,” Mustangs coach Russell Jones said.

“They would have to pull out of school at lunch time to get to training and I am not prepared to do that.

“Even games are a massive commitment; it’s five hours one way to play.

“It’s unbelievable we are undefeated. I keep saying to the girls, 'imagine what we could do if we got to train as a team'.

“It’s been unbelievable work by them, our captain Kyha Black has been tremendous.

“Our fullback Ella Kowitz has been strong, Tanea Jones-Drennan is our young centre and has been tremendous for us and our half Tyra Mitchell impresses me.

“On Saturday, it will all be about ball control; our last game we won without the ball and you don’t want to be trying to do that too often.

“When we play sideways and want to throw it around, we get ourselves in trouble, so this week against the Sunshine Coast, it’s about playing straight and direct.”

Courtney-Lee Nolan will be a big part of what the Mustangs are trying to achieve this round - she worked hard in defence and attack and made two-line breaks in her last game against Wide Bay.

The Harvey Norman Under 19 Mustangs team have been well supported. Photo: Western Mustangs Media
The Harvey Norman Under 19 Mustangs team have been well supported. Photo: Western Mustangs Media

Making the drive from the Sunshine Coast to Toowoomba to try and take down the high-flying Mustangs will be the Falcons.

Coming off a 12-0 loss to Central Queensland Capras, Falcons coach Michael Jeffs was optimistic things were on the improve before they take part in their final game.

“Not having a 12-hour bus trip will help,” Jeffs said with a laugh.

“We need to improve our ball control; that will help us turn around that loss to the Capras too.

“Every coach says it, but it’s never been not right."

Against the Capras, the Falcons paid the price for only having 42 per cent of the ball.

“We have had some really good players this season and our hooker and captain A’Eisha Jeffs is going really well,” Jeffs said.

“We have a second rower Grace Giamino is a sometimes centre, but will be in the backrow this week."

Giamino monstered 85 meters against the Capras and will be looking to do some more running this week in Toowoomba.

Both Mackay Cutters and Burleigh Bears have a bye this weekend, but there will be four other games played in the final round. 

Wide Bay Bulls and the Capras are coming off the bye, but the week before they were engaged in confrontation.

The Bulls did a good job of going everything but winning against the Mustangs, with 57 per cent of the ball, but Wide Bay just didn’t make enough ground with the ball to be in attacking position and have good ball in attacking areas.

Capras prop Lillian Arrow was an unstoppable force against the Falcons last round, with 176 metres of tackle-breaking momentum.

The Capras held the Falcons to zero and with only 18 missed tackles, the Central Queensland team defended like champions.

Townsville Blackhawks would have sat and reflected on their last round loss to the Cutters and be keen to take on Northern Pride this week.

The 48-0 result won’t sit well with the Townsville team who only had 44 per cent  of the ball and made 44 mis-tackles. However, Jacinta Maurangi tried her heart out for the Blackhawks with 98 metres, while Teneal Baker made 20 tackles.

The Pride played last round and had a close game against the Cutters. Teleasi Fredriksson was a shining light for the Cairns side with 104 metres and Brooke Tongalea got through the work in defence with 17 tackles.

Ipswich played two games last round against Burleigh Bears and West Brisbane Panthers. Against the Bears, Ipswich didn’t start well and couldn’t get the momentum back.

The Bears scoring three tries in the first 10 minutes was a game changer. Shona Misi was a demon in defence, but couldn’t hold back the tide.

For the Bears, Sunny Gerrard made four-line breaks and 107 metres for the Bears as they proved too strong for the Ipswich side.

The Jets improved against the Panthers, but still came up short 20-18.

Wynnum Manly Seagulls enjoyed the bye and sat back and watched Ipswich run around all weekend.

Wynnum Manly will live stream this game on their social media platforms. 

The Panthers were part of the ‘school carnival’ at their home ground last week playing the Bears and Ipswich.

The Panthers stalked both prey and came up with two wins; 20-6 against the Bears and 20-18 against Ipswich.

Sera Koroi was her standard blockbusting self, scoring two tries against Ipswich to get the Panthers up and about early in the game.

April Ngatupuna was running for her life with the most metres.

The Magpies sat back and watched it all unfold with the bye, while Souths Logan Magpies last played in a 20-12 loss to the Bears two weeks ago.