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Eagles send retiring trio out as winners

They may all be part of the furniture at the Mt Gravatt Eagles club, however the Open 3 men’s side sent off retiring trio Pita Callaghan, Thomas Scorer and Barney Tiki Tiki as winners in their 26-18 victory over Wests Inala on Saturday.

Playing their last ever home game for the Eagles at Allan Innes Field, the warhorse veterans - all with over 15 years’ service - played liked teenagers again as they rolled the Panthers in front of a bumper crowd.

The Panthers tried to spoil the party, with enigmatic halfback Daniel West-Pes crossing in the fifth minute of play to get the Panthers on the scoreboard early.

Not one minute later, the dynamic half was at it again, this time chipping over the top for his fullback Zach Masterson, who juggled the ball to score under the posts.

The Panthers should have had another try in the 10th minute of play, but a dropped ball saw Eagles flyer Philip Stumer-Hooper scoop up the pill, sending the pacy winger away to score a scintillating try.

Defensively, both sides were making their presence known.

Hardworking Eagles forwards Callaghan, Scorer and Matt Hazard were all setting the benchmark for the home side, whilst Wests Inala were best served by Logan McDonald and Keith Khan.

The home side punished the Panthers in the 13th minute when they crossed yet again.

Eagle Stumer-Hooper was the man to swoop, pouncing on a loose ball to score within inches of the sideline.

It was a bit of a tit-for-tat situation on the scoreboard and whilst Wests Inala were still dangerous with the ball in hand, it was Mt Gravatt who found some extra petrol in the tank to cross right on the halftime hooter.

Five-eighth and captain William Pilot sent both sides to the break leveled up at 12-12, when he scored a four-pointer under the sticks.

The Panthers though were a rejuvenated side in the second half and they hit the lead again in the 43rd minute courtesy of best player on the park West-Pes.

The half crossed for his second try of the afternoon, slicing through the Eagles defence to score under the sticks.

At 18-12 down, the Eagles injected club legend Tiki Tiki to the fold who rallied his younger players to step it up a gear.

His presence on the field lifted the young Eagles side and they eventually scored in the 51st minute through centre Kayel White.

The Panthers however still had their foot on the throttle and had two opportunities to score in the corner, only to be held up over the line.

This opened the door for the Eagles to regroup and they hit the lead for the first time in the 62nd minute to nudge ahead at 22-18.

But it was left to warhorse Eagle Scorer to have the last say for the club's retiring trio, throwing a superb pass to his captain Pilot, who scored beside the sticks, with the try enough to sneak the Eagles home in what was an emotionally-charged victory.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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