It was finals day for Downs Rugby on Saturday. The first game of the day saw C grade minor premiers Chinchilla River Rats take on the Dalby Wheatmen, as they tried for the third year in a row bring home the E.S Dooney Hayes Memorial Trophy after losing their last two years. It wasn’t looking good as the young Wheatmen side piled on three tries in the first half to Chinchilla’s one, heading into the halftime break 15-5. Chinchilla came out of the halftime break with plenty of fire in the belly as they scored another try reduce the deficit to just 15-12. Late in the game Chinchilla slotted a penalty goal levelling the score at 15 all with not much time on the clock. Unfortunately for the Rats the Wheatmen had exceptional ball retention late in the game and worked their way down field to be awarded a penalty dead in front. Dalby’s halfback snatched the victory 18-15 leaving the Rats still searching for their maiden premiership.
In the B grade the Emus were looking to win three grand finals in a row against the Wheatmen and the Dalby boys were looking to turn the tables. It was the Wheatmen who slotted two early penalty goals to jump out to a 6-3 lead before the Emus turned it on scoring a try to lead 10-6 at halftime. The Gundy boys were again next to score coming out the break with Ben Dillon scoring his second try of the day. A late surge from the Wheatmen saw them crawl back to within four points but it was too little too late as the Emus made it three in a row with an 18-14 victory.
The reigning premiers had a nightmare start to their Wagners Risdon Cup final after turning the ball over almost immediately and Emus’ Tom Jobling found the line out wide, the kick unsuccessful. The Wheatmen later hit back with a penalty goal to Dan Merker leaving the score 5-3. The game was full of massive defence with both sides applying large amounts of pressure to their opposition. It was Harry Hawker who relieved the Emus after a brilliant long range effort beating a number of defenders to get them out to a 12-3 lead at halftime. Again it was the Emus who scored first after halftime with Will Gilbert slotting a penalty goal for a 15-3 lead. Both sides then began to be in a massive arm wrestle as no one could break each other’s lines with some huge defence with Yoni Meron being a standout flattening not just the opposition but accidentally wiping out the referee in one of his big hits throughout the day. Sean Cairns was brought on to make an impact and that he did, pretty much sealing it for the Emus as he put on the after burners from 50m out and left a number of Dalby defenders in his wake. The Emus had finally stopped the Wheatmen’s streak and after losing two in a row they took home the Wagners Risdon Cup with a 23-3 victory.
Unbeaten Goondiwindi Emus took home the Wagners Risdon Cup with a 23-3 win over Dalby Wheatmen on Saturday. In B grade the Emus made it three in a row beating Dalby Wheatmen 18-14 and Dalby took out C grade with an 18-15 win over Chinchilla.