Ingham Daily Press

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The finals countdown: Three Ingham teams in title chase

THREE teams are flying the flag for Herbert River on the sports field this weekend as they they chase North Queensland titles in soccer, rugby league and union.

Herbert River Crushers-under 12s went the league season unbeaten and now face Burdekin in their grand final.

The Ingham Cutters’ senior rugby union team are in their first ever reserves grand final after winning the minor premiership.

They are paired against a Brothers outfit who have appeared in the previous 14 grand finals – and made 34 out of the last 35.

Ingham Wolves’ soccerettes face Mundigburra Aitkenvale Olympic as they bid to win the grand final of the North Queensland women’s reserve league.

Ingham Daily Press caught up with the coaches from the three sides to get their thoughts before the big games.

Crushers under-12s vs Burdekin under-12s

Coach: Tony Iafano

How’s the season gone so far?

Really well! We’ve won all our games other than one that we came back and drew, which was good for the boys. We were down by 14 points at half-time and got back into it and get the draw.

What have been the highlights?

Definitely that game coming back from 14 down to draw it in the second-half. We showed a lot of character. And their defensive efforts against Charters Towers (they won 48-0) on the weekend just gone, to keep them to 0 points for the entire game.

Who have been the stand-out players?

It’s hard to put a few names down when it has been a true team effort – everyone has done their bit.

Who are you playing?

We are playing Burdekin in the final, which is great. It’s good to see two country clubs come through and lead the competition and go head to head. It really shows the spirit and heart from our clubs.

When are where is the game?

The game is at the Kern Brothers junior rugby league grounds – and kicks off at 9.50am. Hopefully we get a lot of support from our club’s followers.

How are you feeling about the game?

It’s going to be a tough physical battle. The team that wants it more on the day will get over the line. We have certainly got the talent and the heart. I think the boys will give 100% – and if they do I am confident they can get the job done.

Ingham Wolves vs MA Olympic

Coach: Rodney Fascetti

How’s the season gone so far?

We finished minor premiership champions with only one loss – so not bad.

What have been the highlights?

The way the senior players have taken the younger ones under their wings and guided and encouraged them for the whole season.

Who have been the stand-out players?

Kirrily Low, Randall Perakovic, Brooke McLeod and Akema Greenaway.

Have you ever reached a grand final before?

Yes, I have personally played in two grand finals and was fortunate enough to win both. I have also coached a premier league ladies team in a grand final.

How are you feeling about the game?

I believe we have the team to win this game.

Who are you playing?

MA Olympic.

Have you played them before this season? How did it go?

We have played them twice this year – and have had a win and loss.

When are where is the game?

We play at 1300 Active Park on Friday night in Townsville, kick-off at 7.30pm.

Cutters vs Brothers

Player-coach: Shawn Hague.

How’s the season gone so far? 

It’s been a hugely successful one both on and off the field. We’ve forged an alliance with Western Suburbs in Townsville, which has allowed our juniors to get more games and our players to get a taste of first grade if they’re good enough, or thirds if they’re new to rugby and need to get more understanding of the game.  It’s also meant that we were never short for games like we had been in previous years due to seasonal work.  On the field the season was still a long one with 15 games being played – of which we won 12.   

What have been the highlights? 

Probably the biggest highlight of the season was winning our first seven games.  This meant we completed a clean sweep of all of the other teams in the competition, a first for Ingham rugby.

Who have been the stand-out players? 

We were really lucky to pick up Johannes Joubert, a South African fullback who oozes class and is super quick.  Shaun Tabone, Hayden Smith and Ryan Stokes have been excellent in the forward pack as well, laying the platform for the backs to do what backs do well.  Everybody has done a job though, which is what you need on the rugby field.  Many of us have played together for a number of years now so we know each others’ games well and can complement each others strengths.

Have you ever reached a grand final before? 

We have played in three grand finals so far since the Cutters were reintroduced to the Townsville competition.  We were lucky enough to win them in 2014 and 2018, although they were in third grade.  This is our first reserve grade final, which is a huge achievement as we are the smallest club and completely player driven.  We don’t have an official coach, we just come together and enjoy each other’s company.  I think this reflects in our rugby where we all do our best and don’t take ourselves too seriously.

How are you feeling about the game? 

Quietly confident.  We go into the game massive underdogs, but grand finals are great levelers.  I know it is a cliché, but anything can happen on the day.  We just need to turn up and play our best rugby.  If we do that I am confident we will give it a good shake – and hopefully come home with the silverware.

Who are you playing? 

Brothers – who apparently have made the reserve grade grand final for 14 years straight and 34 of the past 35!

Have you played them before this season? How did it go?  We have played them three times this year, winning once.  They have been dominant the past two times we have played them, but we’ve been a bit understrength.  They are young, fit and fast, and we need to be switched on – or it will be a long day at the office.

When are where is the game? 3.30pm Mike Carney Toyota Park, Hugh St Townsville.

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