Werribee continue their dominance as Northern Thunder upset Sunbury
Men’s First Grade Review
The Finals began with a huge day in the First Grade competition, with momentum being key for the success heading into the Grand Final. Werribee were able to run over the top of Casey in the major semi-final, running out 28-10 victors, while for the elimination final, the Northern Thunder were able to rise to the occasion to storm over Sunbury in the second half, winning 26-16.
Werribee Bears 28 – 10 Casey Warriors
It was the match-up everyone was looking forward to, the two best teams in the Men’s competition being ferocious in attack and leaving nothing out on the field, with a win guaranteeing a spot in the Grand Final in a fortnight.
In the first half, the attacking pressure was immense from Casey, who were undefeated all season, helping set up two tries for Kelma Tuilagi on the wings. Werribee, despite conceding twice, were able to set up their own attacks, and were ruthless close to goal, crossing three times, setting up a 12-10 half-time lead.
Both teams’ ball use was a bit scrappy, with nerves overcoming some either side of the half-time break. Knock on’s, intercepted passes and bad off loads all causing headcahes for both sides, with composure a necessity.
After the half-time break however, it was a completely different story with Werribee controlling majority of the possession, the territory and enivitably, the scoreboard.
Ben Tuiatua scored twice for the Bears, while Marcus Kaponga, Troy Hanita-Paki and Redeem Saleupolu were all able to cross the line in their triumph.
This victory gives the Bears a week’s rest, where they will play the victor of next weeks do-or-die final between Casey and Northern Thunder, as the look to go back-to-back in 2017.
Sunbury Tigers 16 – 26 Northern Thunder
The minor semi-final showed that Finals is a different stage, with the fourth-placed Northern Thunder upstaging third-placed, Sunbury Tigers.
The Tigers were able to race to a quick lead setting up a 12-4 half-time buffer, with a victory on the horizon.
However, after the half-time break, the game was flipped on its head, with Northern Thunder looking at staging an almighty comeback in an unlikely upset.
The competitions leading point getter, William Sila was influential for the Thunder, converting five goals, and crossing the line once. While Jake Vaaua, Derek Moata and Siona Tauafao were all able to cross the line, as the Thunder pulled off an upset victory, 26-16.
The Tigers were only able to score once after the break, falling to a spirited Thunder line-up. Alti Porter, Tommy Katene and leading try-scorer, Samisoni Fusi were the Tigers’ try-scorers.
The Tigers weren’t able to return to the pinnacle where they’ve been previously, ending a consistent season in a disappointing way. The Thunder will now have the task of defeating Casey, with the winner to head to the Grand Final to play Werribee.