By Casey O'Connor
It all looked so promising for the Warwick Cowboys in the early stage of the TRL Grand Final against the Roosters.
The Roosters were left shell shocked when the Cowboys led 6-0 with the game only two minutes old. Coedie Tandy was seen at his very best when a brilliantly placed chip kick found his winger Mitch Watson who dived over in the corner unmarked to score. In the strong swirling wind Mitchell Marshall neatly slotted the ball job.
Over the black dot and things looked to be going to plan for the Cowboys.
The excitement of Cowboy’s fans was short-lived however when another Tandy kicked found Valleys’ speedster Denzel Burns. The slippery winger raced almost the length of the field to put Valleys on the board. The Valleys conversion was unsuccessful and the Cowboys maintained the lead.
There was some solid defence in the next few passages of play and a few niggles bubbled to the surface as both sides gave away unnecessary penalties.
Tandy was again in the thick of things. A well placed cut out pass found its mark and Mitch Watson was over for try number two as the Cowboys extended the lead to 10-4.
Tensions between Marshall and Joe Mua were simmering and both captains were told to settle their players by referee Phil Hennessy.
Valleys were on the attack and looked certain to score however under pressure from the defence winger Zac Miles put a foot on the sideline and the Cowboys had dodged a bullet.
Finally the Roosters captain Budden cracked the Cowboys defence and crashed over to level the score five minutes out from half time.
Back to back penalties gave the Cowboys good field position and allowed Matt Marshall to successfully convert a penalty goal as the players headed to the dressing room for the break. The score Cowboys 12 Valleys 10 and the game anyone’s for the taking.
Valleys opened the second half with some blistering attack. Outstanding defence from the Cowboys fullback Craig Donn was unable to prevent his opposite number Gerome Burns from scoring after a good passage of play from the Roosters. Duncan converted and the Roosters took a 16-12 lead.
The work of Cowboy’s fullback Craig Donn under the high ball was outstanding. He did look to have a target on his back as he came in for plenty attention from the opposition.
Donn eventually succumbed to a leg injury in the early stages of the second half. His loss forced a backline reshuffle and was a real blow to the Cowboys.
Warwick had their chances in the next few plays. They got into an attacking position deep in Valleys half and looked likely to score however they failed to hang on to the ball turning over possession. The Roosters attack was unforgiving and made the Cowboys pay with back to back tries pushing the score out to 22-12.
Warwick tried to regain momentum but with a mounting injury toll; some poor ball control and a few lapses of discipline they were unable to come away with points despite building pressure.
Valleys received yet another penalty and Dwayne Duncan converted the penalty goal to put Valleys ahead 24-12 with one hand on the Premiership Trophy.
The Cowboys were never going to die wondering and in a frantic final ten minutes threw all they had left at their opponents. Koitka back on the field after spending time on eh sideline injured, went within inches of scoring but was denied by desperate defence.
The game stopped was stopped as Cowboys Sam Vavega suffered a dislocated shoulder. He was forced from the field late in the game.
Despite being gassed and with troops across the park carrying noticeable injuries the Cowboys did not let their supporters down fighting right until the final minute.
In the79th minute, Mitch Watson who had been on one leg for most of the second half crossed for his third try in front of the Cowboy’s faithful minute to narrow the margin to 24-16.
The Marshall conversion was unsuccessful but the horse had bolted and as the final siren sounded the Roosters were celebrating back to back premiership wins.
Cowboy’s captain Mick Bloomfield led front the front all game. Coedie Tandy and Mitch Watson were standouts in a beaten side and before he was forced from the field Craig Donn was exceptional. The Warwick big men all stood up and did their job.
This was a grand final however that was marred by poor possession and some bad last pass options from both sides. It was not a free flowing game more a thrilling but somewhat scrappy affair.
The win wrapped up a good day for the Valleys club who were also successful in the Reserve Grade game.
The Dalby Diehards took out the Under 18 Grad final defeating Gatton. It was not a good day out for the Hawks. They had teams in Reserve Grade Under 18 and C Grade but left empty handed. The C Grade final won by a Newtown.
VALLEYS 24 (Denzel Burns, Gerome Burns, Hnaloan Budden, Ben Cook tries; Dwayne Duncan 4 goals) defeated WARWICK 16 (Mitch Watson 3 tries; Mathew Marshall 2 goals)