Dragons 2015 Summer 9’s Premiers
In a Grand Final rematch, the Dragons Rordon Walker found the try-line first after the Jets gave away two penalties in the opening minutes of the game.
The Jets retaliated through Tony McCarthy who scored in the corner after some quick ball movement by the Jets centre players.
The crowd of 300 witnessed huge hit-ups and tackles by both sides, but another costly penalty by the Jets saw the Dragons regain possession only 15 metres out from their try-line. Rordon Walker captilised on this scoring opportunity and gave Dragons a 12-6 lead.
Dragons big men in Shane Davis, Justin Spong and Stewart McLaughlin stepped up in defence and held off the Jets strong offence. But this sparked-up Jets Captain Tui Makaore who pulled out three consecutive and massive tackles, stopping the Dragons run.
With five minutes remaining in the opening half, Dragons Captain Mitch June showed his magic side-stepping and sprinted 50 metres down the ground to score. Seconds remaining in the half, Rordon Walker’s offload gave small man Jay Mariano space to run and score, which made the score 22-6 Dragons way at halftime.
The start of the second half, saw the smaller more agile players moving the ball around which resulted in both sides making good ground. Jets were able to push the Dragons deep into defence but Jets Hoani Simmons was stopped within a metre of the line on the last tackle.
For the following ten minutes of play, both teams continued pushing hard and falling metres short of their try-lines.
At the 17th minute mark, Dragons Stewart McLaughlin broke five tackles and ran 40 metres before massive hit-ups stopped his forward push. With the big guys from both teams hitting hard in defence, there was an increase in turn overs from fumbles in the tackles. But the Jets found the Dragons short out wide and Jets Hoani Simmonds crossed the line for a well-deserved try.
The Dragons were quick to respond with another solid set of six in attack that saw McLaughlin burst through for a try. The Jets replicated a solid set through Carl Schmitt, Tui Makaore and Tony McCarthy who each gave solid runs but once again the Jets fell a metre short of the try-line.
With minutes remaining, both sides kept attacking and on the Dragons 4th tackle, a June kick put the ball into the try area which Shane Davis pounced on, scoring his first try of the season.
The Jets responded with Tony McCarthy’s strong run and offload to Rewi Whaanga resulting in a try with seconds left on the clock. The Dragons won the 2015 Summer 9’s Cup by 16 points.
Earlier on Grand Final Day, the Come ‘n’ Try saw 15 kids learn basic rugby league skills and participate in a scratch match, and in the exhibition game the Blue Lake Knights defeated Horsham Panthers 38-10.
The MGRL Presentation Night saw Jets Tui Makoare crowned 2015 MGRL Best & Fairest, followed by a five-way tie for Runner Up in Mitch June (Dragons), Daniel Fisher (Knights), Lelo Baleni (Knights), James Kalms (Panthers) & Ben Goodman (Knights). Best Under 21 was awarded to James Kalms from the Horsham panthers who had a fantastic turn around in his play in the last half of the season. Leading Try-Scorer was Rordon Walker (Dragons) who scored 12 tries, and Leading Point-Scorer was Mitch June (Dragons) with 72 points for the regular season.
The MGRL would like to congratulate all its players, volunteers, clubs, partners and sponsors including major sponsor The South Aussie Hotel, for making a successful 2015 Summer Season.