A SENSATIONAL display by Crushers under-15s sealed their top four spot after a 26-14 win over last year’s champions United Suburbs.
Our boys bounced back from early season defeat against the side who were second on the ladder thanks to solid performances by Liam Di Bartolo, Darcy Di Bella and Sean Moloney.
But due to Covid restrictions there will be no semi-final play-offs, with the top two instead going straight into the grand final.
To finish second Crushers would need to beat league leaders Brothers by more than 100 points in their last game and hope second-placed Western Lions draw with United Suburbs.
That scenario is unlikely, but coach Jason Ebra is delighted with the strides his team has made this season.
He said: ‘This year we’ve exceeded all expectations compared to what we thought was going to happen at the start.
‘It gives us good momentum going into next season.’
The squad have had to cope with just 16 players this season, but on Saturday were boosted by two debutants, Dexter Mimi and Toby Barny.
They were behind without touching the ball but soon bounced back through Moloney’s try that was converted by Lachlan Ebra.
Then Mimi came off the bench for a blistering 15 minutes of footy as the debutant scored a try either side of half-time before he went off with an ankle injury.
He leapt highest to grasp a cross-field kick to score his first before catching the ball from United Suburbs’ second-half kick-off, side-stepping two men and running 60 metres to score his second between the posts.
United Suburbs were shell-shocked and Ebra scored a fourth for Crushers before Darcy Di Bella added a fifth that Ebra converted.
The opposition fired back twice in the last 20 minutes but Crushers were deserving of their 26-14 win.
With the school holidays upon us, there is a three-week gap until that last fixture – something the coach regrets.
‘It would have been better to get it all done this weekend,’ he said.
A large home crowd enjoyed an entertaining match and our boys did Hinchinbrook proud.
Up the River!
Photos by Donna Macarone.