Board's punt pays off - big time!
When the VB South Coast Rugby League board of management announced that the 2014 grand final would take place outside of the area, the roar from some clubs could be heard for miles.
I’m not sure how many people didn’t turn up on Sunday at the Collegians Sports Complex out of spite.
However, let me tell you that you missed a great day’s football – one that may well change the future face of South Coast Group 7 Rugby League.
I know there will be people who will throw their arms in the air in despair – they are the ones who missed a great day’s football on what is a state-of-the-art rugby league facility.
A 1200-seat grandstand, a comfortable hill, plenty of standing room, and four comfortable and spacious dressing rooms which meant clubs could alternate their facilities with no congestion.
There were also ample canteen facilities, with only a minimum wait for service.
Sunday’s entertainment on the field was exceptional, with five enjoyable games on a great surface and a crowd well above what is normally expected.
With a fee of just $5000 plus catering rights, the Group stands to make a very handy profit, which will hopefully go back to the clubs in one form or another.
The standard of football also rose to the occasion, with plenty of thrills and spills.
The biggest margin of the day was the Kiama Knights' upset 18-point win over Gerringong Lions in reserve grade.
So to those people who missed the game out of spite, you were the ones who missed out!
Congratulations to Nowra-Bomaderry Jets on their sensational win in first grade against a Gorillas side that appeared to be a slightly under-done after a week off and only one game in a month.
However, nothing can be taken away from the Jets – they have done it the hard way and some of their tries, in particular the one scored by young Isaac Mumberson late in the game, underlined just how good they are.
It was a shame captain-coach Ben Wellington couldn’t finish the game after a compound fracture of his finger, and it was even sadder that he had to miss the majority of the celebrations as he went to hospital for surgery on the injury.
It was also a great way for one of the really nice blokes in Group 7 football, Jets half Geoff Johnson, to go out.
After back-to-back grand final losses, it is probably time for reflection for the Gorillas, who are likely to be without a few ‘regulars’ next season.
Kiama Knights played outstandingly to down local rivals Gerringong Lions in reserve grade – a bitter pill for the Lions, who have now lost three grand finals in a row.
The blunder by talented fullback Jade Blair early in the game, when he started ‘show-boating’ after streaking away for a try, only to lose the ball while trying to improve his position for the conversion had a big effect on the game.
Stingrays of Shellharbour showed plenty of heart to run down the Albion Park Outlaws, who also looked short of a gallop towards the end of the game.
Shellharbour City Sharks just managed to hold out a very good young Gerringong Lions in the under-18s, while Milton-Ulladulla and Kiama Knights had a terrific battle in Women’s League Tag before the Dogs snuck in.
Overall, a great day’s football and congratulations to everyone involved.
This article originally appeared in the Kiama Independent on 23/9/2014