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XXXX 47th Battalion: Toowoomba, Sunshine Coast win carnival with epic comebacks

Toowoomba and Sunshine Coast have delivered stirring comebacks to win respective XXXX 47th Battalion men's and women's titles in Emerald.

The Clydesdales trailed 10-0 against Rockhampton Rustlers at half time before putting together a flawless second stanza, including two tries to bench utility Blake Appo.

Toowoomba coach Colin Speed said the preparation inspired by defeat 12 months ago was the secret to success.

"We were gutted from last year and basically as a coaching staff we sat down and reviewed what we needed to work on and the process and what we needed to do and to everybody's credit behind the scenes they did it and it was unbelievable," he said.

"We defended with 12 men on our line for two or three sets and then we had an injured player and we defended two sets in a row, those little things brought us together. Everyone believed in the system and just stepped up, which was fantastic."

Speed hailed the likes of lock Josh Keollor, second rower Jackson Shelswell, prop Luke Maiden, halfback Sam Betros and bench forward Ashley Jarrett for inspiring the turnaround.

Shelswell said it was "surreal" to be part of the win having moved from Roma this year to play for Valleys in the Toowoomba A grade competition.

"Couldn't get a better bunch of boys," he said.

"We just didn't give up. We backed our defence and backed each other. We just knew we had to show up for each other and put in the effort."

Shelswell said a midweek dinner ahead of the carnival during which the players were reminded of the history of the XXXX 47th Battalion carnival and the meaning of the Clydesdales jersey to so many was a catalyst for bringing everyone together.

The backrower said he would soak this up then look forward to the challenge of the XXXX League Championship semi-final to be played against Chairman's Challenge winner Brisbane Red on the weekend of June 17-18.

"It's a great feeling. We'll celebrate the moment then get ready and switch on for the next challenge, prepare our bodies and get mentally prepared and train for the next game," Shelswell said.

In the women's final, Sunshine Coast found themselves 12-10 down after defending for the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but dug deep to produce two skilful tries to secure the 20-12 win over Rockhampton Rustlers.

Falcons skipper Ella-J Harris said the team's focus on one-percent efforts, resilience and a strong team bond was key to changing the momentum and claiming the trophy.

"I think we just built off the last few games we played and started really strong with our defence. Our line speed was really good, didn't give them much time and space and we just gelled together as a team so I think that made it a lot easier out there as well," she said.

The lock said it was pleasing to turn it around after the challenging period on their own line after half time.

"They got in eventually, but I said this is where we change momentum and the girls managed to turn it around, which was unreal," Harris said.

Sunshine Coast coach Steve Belsham praised the players for being "sponges" during the lead-up to the carnival, and their attitude, which led to winning the title.

"Defence was our key to the carnival. We didn't have a big side, but we had a fast side, so we really worked hard on our communication and it told," he said.

"Just the resilience from the girls and the way they finished, to be pumped like that with attack and then finish off with two good tries to win the game, it was a special occasion."

Sunshine Coast Gympie Rugby League president Jodi Price was almost speechless after the victory and praised Harris and Belsham for driving the success right from the launch of the women's academy with 50 players in January.

"It was a fantastic game. An awesome game. They did so well, I am so proud of our girls," she said.

"It's been really special for us because this year we wanted to plan on lodging a BMD side so we wanted to prove we have got the skill and the talent locally bred on the Sunshine Coast.

"I'm just so proud of them, I don't know what to say."

XXXX 47th Battalion

Men's final

Toowoomba Clydesdales 24 (Blake Appo 2, Jackson Shelswell, Sam Betros, Christopher Woodbridge tries; Christopher Woodbridge, Dwayne Duncan goals) def Rockhampton Rustlers 10 (Tristan Butcher, Sione Veukiso tries; Caleb Tull goal)

Women's final

Sunshine Coast Falcons 20 (Macey Finlay, Makayla Henry, Lauren Sims, Ruojzharna Richardson tries; Lauren Sims 2 goals) def Rockhampton Rustlers 12 (Mattresa House, Alenna Whipp tries; Alenna Whipp, Tashina Ketchup goals)

Get the full results for every game here.

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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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