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Valleys men, Newtown women progress in Toowoomba A grade preliminary finals

Newtown earned a shot at a familiar foe in the women's decider while men's minor premiers Valleys Roosters made the most of their second chance to progress through the Toowoomba Rugby League preliminary finals on Sunday.

Valleys Roosters booked their grand final berth with a 34-14 win over Gatton, avenging their midseason Madsen Rasmussen Cup defeat against the Hawks.

Gatton put the first points on the board with a clever try from Luke Self in the fifth minute, before the Roosters bounced back with quick tries in succession to Patrick O'Callaghan, Sam Betros and Dwayne Duncan, making it 16-6 midway through the half.

Blake Appo got the Hawks back in the game, scoring in the 23rd minute, until Valleys again found themselves getting repeat sets for Daniel Bain to get the Roosters to half time at 22-10. 

After Dwayne Duncan kicked a 42nd minute penalty goals to make it 24-10, the game knuckled down into a tight tussle, with Gatton digging deep to try to get back into the match.

Gatton scored the try of the game after they ran from deep in their half, with five-eighth Jake Self ultimately getting the chance to kick wide for his outside men.

The kick looked too big but fortunately bounced up just inside corner of the in-goal enough to allow Tyrell Woodley to grab the ball and plant it inside the dead ball line while somersaulting, giving his side some hope at 24-14.

Valleys put the match away with two late tries to Nick Ryals and Jackson Shelswell to make the full-time score 34-14.

It wasn’t the most polished win by the minor premiers, but halves Betros and Duncan did enough to guide their side to the grand final.

Despite the defeat, Gatton are to be congratulated on their follow up season after making the grand final in 2022. In the end they became a team every club knew they had to play well to beat.

After missing the finals last season, Valleys find themselves in the decider - a grand effort - and they have every chance to again take home a title when they face Dalby Diehards.

In the women's preliminary final, Newtown Lions qualified for their second consecutive grand final when they defeated Oakey 40-12, setting up a repeat grand final battle with Gatton Hawks.

Oakey started the game with just 15 players, but showed plenty of pride in the jersey, especially the second half which they won on the scoreboard 12-10.

It followed a 30-0 half time score from Newtown. Newly named coach of the year Rosie Gibbs and Paige Edwards were the stars for the Lions, the latter scoring a hat-trick.

Eliana Saluni and Kylie Janes finished the season well with good displays in the game for the Bears, who with a higher ladder position in 2023 than 2022 showed they're building nicely.

Gatton will need to be on their game to defeat the Lions in the decider.

These two teams have been great rivals since the women's competition began and will put on a great contest on Saturday.

Full scores - TRL preliminary finals

A grade: Valleys 34 (Pat O’Callaghan, Dwayne Duncan, Sam Betros, Daniel Bain, Nick Ryals, Jackson Shelswell tries; Dwayne Duncan 4, Drew Jackson goals) def Gatton 14 (Tyrel Woodley 2, Luke Self tries; Shannon Hicks goal) 

Women: Newtown 40 (Paige Edwards 2, Lorna Murray, Leah Peckham, Anna Dingley, Katelyn Anderson tries; Rosie Gibbs 5, Tamika Clevin goals) def Oakey 12 (Erikana Dean, Eliana Saluni tries; Maleyna Hunapo 2 goals)

Reserve grade: Dalby 34 (Alex Lindsay 2, Brain Babington, Kristian Bond, Tupou Lecavanavanua, Travis Babington tries; Alex Lindsay 7 goals) def Wattles 26 (Warren Draper, Josh Henry, Tim Hentschel, Alex Morris, Braydon Wilson tries; Joe Willett 3 goals)  

Under 19: Highfields 22 (Shannon Elara, Carter Blades, Luke Cesari 2 tries; Riley Wockner 3 goals) def Dalby 16 (Regan Olsen, Brock Sankey, Darnell Murray tries; Brayden Falvey 2 goals)

Schedule - Toowoomba Rugby League grand final day on Saturday, September 16

1pm: Under 19 - Toowoomba Valleys Roosters v Highfields Eagles

2.45pm: Women - Gatton Hawks v Newtown Lions

4.30pm: Reserve grade - Toowoomba Valleys Roosters v Dalby Diehards

6.30pm: A grade - Dalby Diehards v Toowoomba Valleys Roosters

Main image: Newtown Lions' women after winning their preliminary final

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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