FIVE lower grade Group Seven sides are through to their respective grand finals, after grinding out tough preliminary final wins at the Kiama Showground on Saturday.
Eagles fly high against Roos
Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles will fight it out with Kiama Knights for the reserve grade premiership after outstaying Jamberoo Superoos 12-nil in a dour final.
After finishing second at the end of the competition rounds, Jamberoo couldn’t overcome the loss of playmaker Matt Coelho, speedster Josh Saunders and captain-coach Chris Woods through injury over the past three games and battled to turn numerous chances into points against a gritty Eagles.
Half Scott Austin gave the Eagles a 2-nil half-time lead through a penalty goal just prior to halftime and added a try to Liam Jolliffe just three minutes after the break and Austin converted for a handy 8-nil lead.
They continued to attack and put the game to bed in the 52nd minute when winger Callum Azzopardi finished a slick backline movement to score in the corner.
In a solid Eagles effort Austin, Jolliffe, Chad Pemberton and Chad Harrison played well for the Eagles, while Luke Dudgeon, Joey Rose, Cameron Brabender and James Moore tried to lift the Superoos.
Superoos’ class shows through
Jamberoo’s Women’s League Tag division one team have booked a mouth-watering clash with the unbeaten Kiama Knights in Sunday’s grand final with an 18-8 win over the young Stingrays of Shellharbour.
Jamberoo jumped out of the blocks and winger Alicia Doolan gave her side a great start with a try in the corner in just the first minute, but the Stingrays were able to stay in the game when speedster Teagan Berry scooped up a wayward pass and race away in the 18th minute to level the scores at 4-all at half-time.
With a strong wind at their backs the Stingrays must have fancied their chances after halftime, but it was the class of the Jamberoo side that showed through, with a long break by Brooke Smith and magnificent inside pass to Carly Ryan gave them a 10-4 lead.
That try gave their side great confidence and they went on with the job with further tries to Smith and Emily Burke before Jazmin Vergan raced over for Stingrays in the final minute.
Reigning premiers Milton-Ulladulla keep title defence alive
The Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs have kept their under 18s premiership defence alive by edging out the Berry-Shoalhaven Heads Magpies 22-16 on Saturday.
Magpie rake Sam Stevenson opened-up the black and whites account with two tries in 10 minutes to give his side a strong 8-nil lead.
They then added a third try through Sam Fletcher, with Kealan Blattner nailing two kicks, to send his side into the break up 16-4.
Not to be denied, the finishing style of Bulldog winger Joel Blakeny prevailed when the classy string-bean winger went thundering over wide out after a classic Whitford pass.
Minutes later, back-rower Ben Russell rattled the Magpies by charging over and then in a blink of an eyelid, rollicking Bulldog front rower Lleyton Roach bulldozed his way over at the 54th minute.
The comeback was complete when dashing centre Liam Conlan made the most of a Whitford pass and sprinted into the south western corner to close the scoring at 22-16.
Bears fightback to send minor premiers packing
Michael Blattner and his Wreck Bay Bears have stormed into the third grade grand final, after coming back to defeat the Sussex Inlet Panthers 24-22.
Two tries from Dale Hammond, as well as one each to Lochlan Broughton and Tom Payne, saw the minor premiers lead the Bears 22-6, despite a try from Will Ray.
But the Bears went on to score 18 unanswered points, including tries to Johnny Murray, Will Ray and Craig Paku, and a penalty kick to Tyson Alcorn with three minutes left, to seal the memorable two point win – sending the Panthers, who were undefeated during the regular season, out in straight sets, after a last gasp loss to Mount Warrigal last week.
Eagles book spot in historic decider
The Albion Park-Oak Flats Eagles will face the Shellharbour Sharks in the first ever WLT division two grand final, after the former defeated Kiama 16-6 on Saturday.
Tries from Imigen Byrne, Vanessa Grady and Jessie Sheridan, as well as two goals from Grady, sealed the 10 point win at the Kiama Showground.
In the loss, Danika Phillips scored the lone try, while captain Ash Fripp landed one goal.