first_imgQUEENSLAND DOMINATES FINALS RACE Queensland claimed three of the four major Titles up for grabs as the School Sport Australia Combined Touch Tournament reached its conclusion at the Gold Coast Touch Centre at Owen Park Southport. There were clinical performances by the victors in the respective 12 Years Boys and Girls division, an old fashioned battle to the death in the 15 Years Girls, and a thrilling ride into the drop-off zone for our 15 years Boys, as well as some entertaining battles in the semi-finals, plate, and ranking games. In early morning action, Qld and NSW swept into the Grand final of the 15 Years Boys division with comfortable semi-final victories. The Queenslanders towelled up Northern Territory 14-0, and New South Wales recorded an 11-0 shut out of the Australian Capital Territory. In the Bronze medal play off the ACT totally dominated the Northern Territory 6 – 1 and can be well pleased with their week’s work. The Northern Territory’s Gus Fitzgerald was judged the winner of the 15 Years Boys division `Encouragement Award’ for his efforts during the Tournament. In the 15 Years Boys Plate series final qualifier Victoria gave Tasmania plenty of chances to perfect their tap off moves with a resounding 8-0 win which set up a showdown with WA, who earlier eked out a narrow 5 – 4 victory over South Australia. Victoria backed up and played some bright Touch to swamp the Sandgropers 9-4 and take the Plate home. The Vic Boys were pretty chuffed with their performance and celebrated with a haka at half time in the 15 Years Boys Final – whatever works for you. For Pete Hampson and his `fit as racing snakes’ Tasmanian Boys there was no joy, as they fell in a drop-off to South Australia 5 – 4 in the battle for 7th and 8th. In the 15 Years Girls division the Mighty Maroons had a 12 – 1 victory over the ACT in their semi-final to advance to the final and attempt to retain the Title they collected last year. NSW battled hard to defeat a determined Western Australian outfit 4 -2 and advance to the Grand final. The battle for the Bronze was a tight affair with the ACT emerging victorious over WA, 6 – 4. ACT player Natalee Stepan-Daylight was rewarded for an excellent week of performances with the 15 Years Girls division Encouragement Award. In the battle of the Plate, South Australia ran out 8 – 4 winners over NT to confirm a place in the Plate final against Tasmania who accounted for Victoria 6 – 3. South Australia produced an 8 – 4 result against Tasmania to hold the Plate aloft (don’t drop that!) And Victoria relinquished the `spoon’ to the Northern Territory girls in a thrilling 4 – 3 drop off win – cue the haka. In the 12 Years Boys, NSW and Qld recorded big victories over the ACT (3rd) in Pool `A’ to set up the long awaited clash, QLD v NSW to decide who got the Good Bikies and who gets the crumbs. NSW capped a fantastic tournament by defeating Qld 4 -1 in a very entertaining clash. The first half was an absorbing battle full of desperate defensive plays, power rucking, and bright attacking play. The teams went to the break at 1-1 and the players from both teams welcomed the chance to catch their breath after a frenetic first stanza. NSW looked the better on resumption, and as the half wore on cracks appeared in the Qld defence and the well-oiled NSW machine cranked into overdrive in the oppressive heat. Two Touchdowns to the speed machine Chris Knight and a further `meat pie’ to Lachlan Sturgeon sealed the 4 -1 victory for the well-drilled NSW outfit. For Qld Captain Ryley Jacks, Nathan Norford, Oscar Sanft and Josh Scott tried their best to lift the home side, but NSW just had too much combination and options all over the park in attack and a resolute commitment to their defence. Lachlan Sturgeon, Chris Knight and Josh Drinkwater were the best for the Champion NSW Outfit. NSW coach John Clune was ecstatic with the victory, “It was a great game, all the boys on both sides were out on their feet at half time but kept digging, we had a 4 day training camp in preparation and I think the work done there really helped us cope well” NSW retain the National Title they collected last year and will be hoping to make it a hat trick next year in Adelaide, Qld have yet to win the title and that will provide motivation to the Maroons in 2005. In earlier Pool B games Northern Territory swamped Tasmania 9-1 in the (4 v 6) game. In the other pool `B’ clash, (5 v 6) South Australia beat Tasmania convincingly 5 -2. South Australia finished fourth and Northern Territory fifth after their Pool `B’ game went to South Australia 5 – 4. In the 12 Years Girls Qld and NSW both had comfortable wins over the third member of Pool `A’, Northern Territory (relegating them to 3rd) to set up a return Origin clash later in the day to decide the title. Qld 12 Years Girls team were the tournament’s super stars and swept all before them when they defeated NSW 7 – 0 in the last game in the 12 Years Girls division. The Evan Willis coached team created history by not conceding a touchdown the entire tournament and preserving Queensland’s imposing domination of the 12 Years Girls Competition, winning every title for the last decade. The `Roma Rocket’ Emilee Cherry had a hand in four of Qld’s seven Touchdowns to cap an outstanding tournament, and Sarah Monaghan, and Queenslands Player’s Player Sharni Kaatz excelled in a fantastic team performance. Kimberlee Gordon and Rebecca Mounsey were the best for NSW. Queensland Coach Evan Willis heaped praise on his champion team, “The girls have been great and have been so good to coach, they have been so committed to the job at hand and their parents have been great as well, it’s a big relief to get the win, and a pleasure to coach them.” In Pool `B’ action of the 12 Years Girls (4v6) South Australia narrowly defeated Tasmania 3 -2. In Pool `B’ (5v6) ACT defeated Tasmania 3 -0. South Australia then accounted for the ACT 3 – 2 to claim fourth spot. Written by Karley Banks 31 October 2004last_img