Tingha Tigers may have gotten the upper hand in the major semi-final, but Moree Boomerangs proved to be the better side when it mattered in Sunday’s Group 19 grand final, claiming the under 18s premiership with a nail-biting win.
The Boomerangs finished the 2018 season as minor premiers, however were upset by the Tigers in the major semi and had to face Inverell to fight for a spot in Sunday’s grand final.
“The boys had a bit of hard work to do,” Moree Boomerangs president Mitch Johnson said.
“They slogged it out last week over at Inverell in the slosh, in the mud to get their spot here today.”
The Boomerangs certainly came out firing on Sunday, leading the Tigers 18-0 by the end of the first half.
They further consolidated their lead with another try and successful conversion in the first few minutes of the second half.
However, the Tigers came back fighting, scoring the next three tries to narrow the score to 24-18.
With two minutes remaining on the clock, the Rangs managed to score again, securing the victory 28-18.
“I thought they played outstanding in that first half, they were up 18-nil at half time,” Johnson said.
“There were a few handling errors in the second half, but to the boys’ credit they dug deep and came away with a great win.”
Johnson said the Boomerangs’ defence was “outstanding” all day.
“They knew they had to defend well,” he said.
“Tingha are a good side, with a lot of good speedy halves and on the edges, so we just had to defend well and complete our sets, which we did well in the first half.
“In the second half we got a little bit scrappy I think, probably a bit of turnover, we turned the ball over a bit cheaply.
“Tingha came back into the game but we did enough to finish the game off.”
Johnson said the win was a great team effort, but noted the talents of Jade Porter and Keanan Duncan who have at times stepped up to A grade, as well as the number of under 16s players in the squad.
“There’s so many standouts in that young side,” he said.
“Across the paddock, I couldn’t really say anyone was a standout, they were just sensational.
“It takes everyone to win a grand final. They just stuck solid as a unit.”
Mark Pegus was named player of the match for his outstanding performance on Sunday.
The under 18s win kicked off a dream grand final campaign for the Boomerangs, with the reserve and A grade sides going on to also claim premierships in front of a home crowd.