After three rounds, it's still anyone's game!
Three weeks into the season and we still can’t pick the top four teams that will be competing for the trophy come August…this is shaping up to be a thrilling season of local footy!
Round 3 of the Purcell’s Engineering Central Highlands Rugby League season kicked off over the weekend with the League tackling a very important issue in Domestic and Family Violence. Partnering with the Queensland Police Service, Centacare and RizeUp, all teams wore black armbands as a mark of respect for the victims of domestic violence and the region stopped for a minute and observed the lives who have sadly been lost as a result of domestic and family violence.
Defence was clearly not on the agenda with a total of 317 points scored over the six games with all games except for one being high scoring affairs.
Storky Campbell said last Friday in his column that it has been known on a cold Saturday night in Springsure that the Mountain Men can upset a few teams, and they did just that against the in-form Middlemount Panthers.
Playing off for the annual Allen Johnson Memorial shield, the Mountain Men defeated the Panthers 40-18 for the first time in the trophy’s three year history.
In what has been described as an absolute cracker of a match, experienced halves Jared Owens for the Mountain Men and Mitch Wyatte for the Panthers directed their sides around the paddock with both forward packs laying the platform in a brutal, hard-hitting, quality game of football.
As long as both these teams avoid any dreaded injuries, I see both these sides in the race come August.
In Emerald, the crowds packed in for a big double header between the Tigers and Blackwater. It was great to see the Tigers and Blackwater juniors play throughout the morning and early afternoon leading up to the senior matches.
In the Ladies match, it was a very close affair with the Tigers grinding a scrappy 12-10 win against the Crushettes. This has been the second close call of the year now for the Tigers who seem to be the 57th minute specialists, scoring the winning try in the 11th hour. They now have a few weeks off to rest up before the big derby clash against the Emerald Cowgirls on June 4.
For the Crushettes, there is some exciting talent waiting in the wings with Karleigh Banks and Sam Evans who played well against the Tigers along with the new halves pairing of Mariah Storch and Olivia Hamilton, who were both instrumental in getting the Crushettes to the preliminary final last year.
In the Men’s game, the score line of 46-4 didn’t reflect the game, however it could be a long season for the Crushers.
Missing a few key players in Brad Gorman, Zac Clemesha, Kelly Gage and Colby Napper, the Crushers played well and defended well, but the speed of the young Tigers backs ran through the defence leading to a majority of the Tigers’ points.
This weekend will be a big test for the Crushers at home against Dysart and I think it will be closer than what most people think.
Bluff showcased a thrilling game of Rugby League on Saturday night with the defending premiers clinching a 45-42 win over the Dysart Bulls.
The Bulls are an impressive outfit this year with Clayton Kilpatrick leading the way. They showed up in numbers and played well on Saturday night, even without Phil Derksen and Josh Kilpatrick, but couldn’t get the two points from Bluff. They came close though in what’s described as one of the hardest away trips of the season!
The final games of the weekend were in Clermont with the Cowboys and Cowgirls making the trip north to play the Bears.
Tegan Rolfe showed why she was selected in the Central Crows side running rings around the Cowgirls and scoring a whopping five tries and assisting in two others.
Despite the 38-0 score line, the Cowgirls can tackle and only made the trip with 13 girls, so when they are at full strength, I think they will be a much harder outfit to take on.
The Bears were all class at home defeating the Cowboys 50-12 after their drubbing the week before against Tigers at home. They jumped out of the blocks early only allowing the Cowboys to score twice in the whole game. Tom Murray made the move from lock to hooker and made a difference and should look to keep the number nine on his back for the next few weeks at least.
Andrew Doyle was a standout for the Cowboys in the halves but just couldn’t get any of his outside backs through.
This weekend is set to be an absolute cracker with the competition as close as it is!
Blackwater are looking for their first win of the season at home but are facing a tough challenge against an in-form Dysart side. If the Bulls can travel to Blackwater at full strength, I don’t see the Crushers being able to secure their first win, but anything can happen. The Bulls are going to have to earn their win though. The Crushers won’t give it up that easily, especially at home.
I think the Ladies game is going to be a terrific battle. Both teams are into their second year of competition and both teams have a mix of new and experienced players. I think the Crushettes will win but there won’t be much in it. The margin will be 2-4 points if that.
It’s going to be a tough road trip for the Rabbitohs who face the Middlemount Panthers. The Panthers are no doubt looking to make up for last weekend’s defeat. Former Rabbitohs, Mitch Wyatte and Joe Taotofi are set to have big games against the club they helped win a premiership with last year.
Finally, Sunday afternoon footy in Springsure. 5pm Sunday afternoon in the mountains of Springsure. The Mountain Men are looking good this year and over the last few years, at this point in the season, they’d be sitting at 0-3. Their only loss was against the Cowboys and only by 4. It’s going to be a tough trip for the Bears. I think Springsure will make it back-to-back wins at home.
The Duroux Shield game between the two Emerald clubs has been postponed to June 4th due to the double header at Suncorp on Saturday night.
There is some terrific footy to be played this weekend and I hope you can catch at least one of the games…it’s set to be a cracker!
If you can't make it to any matches, you can catch the games live on Spreaker this weekend!
5:30pm SAT - Hinrick's Oval Blackwater
Blackwater Crushettes vs Dysart Bulls Ladies
Live Coverage from 5:15pm
7pm SAT - Hinrick's Oval Blackwater
Blackwater Crushers vs Dysart Bulls
Live Coverage from 6:45pm
5pm SUN - Springsure Sporting Complex
Springsure Mountain Men vs Clermont Bears
Live Coverage from 4:45pm
Tune in online via www.spreaker.com/chrugbyleague