Storky's Footy Talk - Preliminary Finals


What a great 48 hours of footy last Friday and Saturday, including the Steven Bell/Josh Hannay U10’s Carnival, Junior Grand Finals and Senior Semi Finals!

The “Festival of Rugby League” started on Friday morning with the annual Steven Bell/Josh Hannay Under 10’s carnival in Capella. Well done to all of the schools who competed from across the region. This year, the carnival format has changed to encompass both the Steven Bell (southern schools) and Josh Hannay (northern schools) divisions being combined to just the one. The final turned out to be a SB team playing a JH team in St Pat’s Emerald playing Moranbah East State School with Moranbah winning 3-1. Congratulations to all involved and it was great to see Steven Bell at the carnival with the kids signing autographs and even being asked for photos!

Still on junior footy and what a great finish to the Junior Rugby League season with the Grand Finals in Tieri on Saturday. It was a good day of footy and every team gave it their all.

Congratulations to Emerald Brothers White in the Under 11’s defeating Blackwater 32-6. The best player on the ground was Sam Karanicolos who scored a try and made plenty of hit-ups.

In the Under 13’s it was a close one but the home side, the Peak Downs Pirates, won it in the end 26-18 over the Emerald Brothers. This win saw the Pirates Under 13’s go through the season undefeated. Well done to Noah Hartley who was the player of the match.

In the Under 15’s and Under 17’s, the Emerald Tigers took home the double defeating the Emerald Brothers sides in both grades. In the Under 15’s, Brothers had the early lead but the Tigers came home strong with a great four try performance by fullback Mitch Hayward steering the Tigers home 38-20.

In the Under 17’s, it was the Tigers who led from the front defeating Brothers 38-24. Jacob Van Zanden, Tremayne Pita-Robinson and Marvin Huet led from the front for the Tigers meanwhile for Brothers, Matty Read and Mitch Holzwart played well on the left edge.

Well done to the Peak Downs Pirates and CHJRL for hosting a very successful day.

What a finals series for the seniors we’ve had in the first week!

The dust was blown off the rule book in Clermont on Friday night in the Ladies games as the scores were locked at 14-all with a minute to go but an Elle Waters 80 metre try gave the Bears a four-point victory defeating the Emerald Tigers Ladies 18-14.

The game was rather scrappy with a lot of dropped ball and change over in possession in the first half, but once both teams settled, it was a good game of footy. There were plenty of hard hits on display as both teams defended well.

A great defensive performance by Tigers’ Charleigh Robinson and Stacey Kirkman alongside the Bears’ Tegan Rolfe and Judy Smith would have guaranteed a few sore bodies on Saturday morning.

The Bears will now face the winner of tomorrow night’s game next weekend in the Grand Final.

The Middlemount Panthers overcome the raging Dysart Bulls to win 26-18 and are looking good for the preliminary final this weekend in Bluff.

The game saw the return of Ryan Hansell in the starting line-up but it was the veteran Jason Randell who stole the show, scoring a trifecta of tries and leading from the front.

The Panthers have some good forwards in Alex Sainsbury and Josh Rovelli who lay the platform for the backs but the Bulls were able to hold on and contain the Panthers for the majority of the match.

The Dysart spine of Phil Derksen, Kerrod Page, Josh and Clayton Kilpatrick and Shaun Macklin was outstanding and all stood up and played out of their skins, but it was Middlemount who looked in control of the game from the beginning.

It will be interesting how the Panthers handle the defending premiers tomorrow night.

The ladies game on Saturday night between the Crushettes and the Cowgirls was a great game to watch and both sides were there to win.

The Cowgirls were in good form and started the onslaught early to lead 14-nil after twenty minutes.

Denise Chaplin was first to score running twenty metres to score her third try of the season. Next was some brilliant individual work by Kailah Rogers score two quick tries in the space of three minutes.

Rogers seems to be in the right spot every time as the tries look easy and those important points gave the Cowgirls a 14-nil lead. They hadn’t been in that position all year and they had the majority of the ball.

Blackwater coach Jay Denman was worried about his Blackwater girls but Mariah Storch and Nadine Hattingh made up ground before half time scoring two tries to reduce the deficit to just four points and at half time, the Cowgirls led 14-10.

The Cowgirls were on top with props Faye Neville and Denise Chaplin giving it to the Crushers and were backed up by Keely Wiseman and Claire Prior.

The Crushers were defending most of the half. The Cowgirls came out of the sheds to finish the game off with Emma Holzwart scoring to lead 20-10, but the Crushers kicked into gear to catch up.

The Storch twins, Peyton and Mariah, Olivia Hamilton, Lauren Pingel and Nadine Hattingh all worked together to go forward.

The Cowgirls defence had improved and Tayla Bean was working overtime with Kasey Pyle and Meagan Latham around the rucks, but with Blackwater behind, the Crushettes scored through Chrissy Dimitriou out on the wing and Mariah Storch in the middle to locks the scores up at 20-all.

The Cowgirls attacked the Crushettes line and in the dying minutes of the game, Kailah Rogers attempted a field goal from right in front, but it went wide.

The siren sounded and the full time score was 20-all. Both sides looked tired from their game but because it was a final, it was going to be another 10 minutes each way.

The Crushettes kicked into gear and were too good for the Cowgirls.

24 unanswered points were scored in the extra time period with tries going to Amy O’Loughlin, Peyton and Mariah Storch and Olivia Hamilton.

It was a good win in the end by the Crushettes 44-20 over the Cowgirls but the Cowgirls shouldn’t be upset. It was a good effort by the Cowgirls and even though they didn’t finish with the win, they should be proud of their first appearance in the finals and having to go into extra-time to fight for a spot next week…this is something a lot of people didn’t expect so well done ladies!

The Men’s game was a thriller as both teams were level all the way. Silly mistakes by both sides didn’t help them.

Bluff started first with young Jack Laxton scoring first to give Bluff the early 6-nil lead. Dane Heron in the halves scored next and the Rabbits looked like they had it in the bag leading 12-nil.

Kent Booker muscled his way over for Bluff’s third try giving the visitors an 18-nil lead.

The Tigers were on the prowl with Ray Ebsworth trying everything against defender Chris McKay.

Chris Conway in the middle was leading the charge with Billy Byrne but the Tigers struck first points through Isaiah Huet who ran fifty metres for the home sides first meat pie of the game. The GI look-a-like can score tries when he wants to!

Dywayne Rigby and Darcy Darby in the front row for the Tigers led the way and Rigby was rewarded for his hard work with a try right on half time. Bluff led 18-12 going into the break.

In the second half, a backline movement saw Ray Ebsworth run down the touch line before offloading to McIver Watene who sprinted 30 metres to score the equaliser if converted.

Ebsworth, one metre from the eastern touch line right in front of the Bluff crowd, slotted it perfectly over the black dot to level the scores up at 18-all.

Matthew Charles, Josh Merlow and Justin Serio were leading the second half charge for the Rabbitohs but they couldn’t penetrate the defence to score.

The Tigers were throwing everything including the brand new kitchen sink at Bluff’s defence and finally after twenty minutes, the Tigers’ Matt Langby scored a try to give the home side their first lead of the match, ahead 22-18.

Peter McLaughlin was trying everything and his big bombs did draw mistakes from the Tigers. Both sides gave it their all in the last twenty minutes but the Tigers scraped through to win 22-18 and win the right host the 2016 Grand Final.

It was a great game to watch and the Tigers will get a week off this week.

For Bluff, they will face the Middlemount Panthers tomorrow night in Bluff.

The Blackwater Crushettes will play the Emerald Tigers Ladies before the Men at 5:30pm.

It’s set to be a great weekend of footy ahead at Macca’s Oval Bluff.

The preliminary finals in Bluff this weekend will be a pearler as the losers will finish their season and the winners will progresses to the Grand Final to face the Clermont Bears Ladies and Emerald Tigers respectively. All four teams will give it all they’ve got.

The first game is the Emerald Tigers Ladies up against the Blackwater Crushettes.

This should be a hot game. The Crushettes took all game last week and another 20 minutes to put the Cowgirls away. The Cowgirls gave it to the Crushettes and got 14 points on them before they fired up.

The main players around the ruck area are Olivia Hamilton, Nadine Hattingh and the Storch twins, Peyton and Mariah. They all work well together around the ruck. Tashia Anthony is strong around the ruck and needs to be to help her team go forward along with other forward Lauren Pingel.

Experienced player Kaylene Crook will be in the backline adding to the depth alongside other outside back Sam Evans.

The Tigers Ladies have some good forwards in Cloe Rasmay, Miesha Huet, Nioaka Ross and captain Maria Rawiri who has good leadership and jumps in when the team is lost. Ngaire Linde always plays a solid game for the Tigers.

In the back line, they have Casey Watkins depending on where she plays and fast players in Kelsie Parter, Tamyra Hunter, Bonnie Walsh and Raven Albert.

The game will be fast and if the Crushettes can get out to a lead they’ll win but Tigers can claw back. It’s a tough call…I’ll sit on the fence!

In the Men’s game we have two tough sides battling it out.

We have last year’s premiers, the Bluff Rabbitohs, and they have good front rowers who don’t go backwards in Billy Byrne, Kelly Conway and Matty Charles.

Second rower Chris Conway is a great player who can win games if he is setup to finish off the good work. Halves Peter McLaughlin and Dane Heron can direct traffic well. Peter knows the easy way to the try line and will have to defeat Middlemount.

They have reliable players in their back line in Ryan O’Donoghue and Chris McKay. Both players can niggle the opposition into mistakes and both have good attacking plays to win games.

Middlemount have great halves in Mitch Wyatte and Joel Duffy and they have been known to do a lot of running and make crucial ground for the Panthers.

I’m expecting the return of big Joe Toatofi to join Brendon Hoskin up front and Alex Sainsbury should line up in the back row. I reckon Alex has gotten better as the year as gone on.

Seasoned hooker Jason Randell is still tough as nails and loves it in the middle of the ruck area. He loves scoring tries too bagging three last week. Josh Rovelli has really tightened up the forward pack.

It should be a great game but I feel the home side will just get up with their support.

It’s set to be a big weekend in Bluff so get down there. Kick-off is from 5:30pm.
Enjoy your local footy this weekend!


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