Illawarra Coal Second Grade Grand Final
A smart display by five-eighth Jarrad Fitzgerald spearheaded Helensburgh to a 22-10 win over Wests in the Illawarra Coal League second grade grand final at WIN Stadium on Sunday.
Fitzgerald was able to capitalise on the foundations set by the Tigers forward and contributed a sparkling try and three goals as the Burgh successfully defended their second grade premiership.
Helensburgh scored first when centre Conor Roxburgh crossed out wide in the fifth minute but Fitzgerald’s conversion attempt hit the upright and bounced away.
The Tigers received a penalty in front of the posts and took the tap rather than go for goal, a decision that paid dividends with a try in the 11th minute to winger Joe Drinkwater on the receiving end of a cross field bomb.
A superb conversion by Fitzgerald had the Tigers ahead 10-0.
Wests were penalised for a late tackle on Fitzgerald after he kicked the ball. The Tigers took the tap kick again but this time it wasn’t the right choice.
A melee then erupted and referee Andrew Riolo decided to pack a scrum after issuing a warning to both teams.
Helensburgh increased their lead to 16-0 after 27 minutes when Jesse Cobb intercepted and ran 60 metres to score under the crossbar. Fitzgerald added the extras and this remained the score to half-time.
Wests had all the field position and possession early in the second half before the Tigers were reduced to 12 players when Guy Gellatley was sin binned.
The pressure finally told on the Tigers and Hayden Carpenter scored in the left corner to record the Devils’ first try nine minutes into the second half.
Fitzgerald produced twinkle toes in scoring a delightful try for the Tigers in the 50th minute then converting his own try as the Burgh stretched their advantage to 22-4.
A Brian Cartwright try, converted by halfback Josh Dean, for Wests in the 62nd minute cut the Tigers’ lead to 22-10 but that remained the score right to the full-time siren as Helensburgh their celebrated their premiership victory with a group their loyal and passionate supporters on the eastern side of WIN Stadium.
Fitzgerald was the recipient of the Player of the Grand Final award.
HELENSBURGH 22 (Conor Roxburgh, Joe Drinkwater, Jarrad Fitzgerald, Jesse Cobb tries; Fitzgerald 3 goals) defeated WESTS 10 (Hayden Carpenter, Brian Cartwright tries; Josh Dean goal) at WIN Stadium on Sunday, September 1.