Hawks fly high in epic Under 18 thriller

MANUNDA Hawks edged out Centrals by just seven points to win a pulsating, pressure-filled under-18 AFL Cairns Grand Final at Cazalys on Wednesday night.

Hawks coach Richard Martin said if the game had carried on another four minutes, there would have been 36 bodies laid out on the pitch, such was the desperation and determination of both teams.

"That was just an absolute cracking game of football and I really do not know where you would ever see a better of game of junior football than that," Martin said of the 9.9 (63) to 8.8 (56) triumph by Hawks. "It was two really good sides prepared to do anything to win, filled with desperation and intensity.

"And I never felt safe, not until the final siren. It was one of those games where someone would get a goal or two or more in front and you never felt like it was a match-winning lead."

Constant talk that the AFL Cairns under-18 competition keeps improving to be ranked one of the best in the state was backed up in Wednesday night's decider.

A rugged and frenetic first half had Centrals going into the long break ahead 5.4 (34) to 4.4 (28) but after halftime, Josh Finegan's long-range snap gave Hawks the lead before John Simpson handed the lead back to his team with a 50m bomb.

But it was Hawks again who came back, going into the last term 10 points ahead. The margin was whittled down to seven points but in the ensuing frantic few minutes, Centrals could not claw their way back

For Hawks, the senior football experience of John Vincent and Willie Aisi shone through while Centrals' Simpson was again dominant, winning the Pat Clive Medal for best on ground.

Manunda Hawks 9.9 (63) d Centrals Trinity Beach 8.8 (56).

Best players: (Hawks) John Vincent, Willie Aisi, Shane Anthony, Callum Ogilvie, Miles Kerindun, Bergman Talingapau; (Centrals) John Simpson, Jack Anderson, Shannon Roberts, Lachlan Stirling, Ben Begeja.

Goal kickers: (Hawks) Ray Peeters 2, Miles Kerindun 2, John Vincent , Lewis Reu, Josh Finegan, Jake Roach, Callum Ogilvie; (Centrals) Lachlan Stirling 2, Jack Anderson 2, Matty Gale 2, John Simpson, Michael James.


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