Boomerangs take Grand Finals glory

September 11, 2013

Grand Final day belonged to the Moree Boomerangs with a 48-22 defeat of a very gallant Gwydir squad.  However the score does not reflect the effort Gwydir made and in fact they were looking good in the first 35 minutes with a lead of 10-4 with the Rangs tiring and losing their structure.

However momentum swings often determine sporting outcomes and the last five minutes of the first half saw a critical change come over the game as the Rangs raced in two converted tries against the run of play.

Gwydir had been playing very confidently at the time and suddenly found themselves going to the sheds at 10-16 down, those few minutes were a game changer.

For the record Brendon Critchlow had scored the first try and Harold Duncan the second after he intercepted and ran 50 metres to score for Ash Churchland to convert. Jamie Smith, Rick Roberts and Warren Cain scored for Moree with two goals to Jerome Hammond.

The Rangs, buoyed by their lead, scored first after the break to lead 10-22 (Matthew Marshal), then 10-26 (Craig McKenzie) however Mitch Porter steadied the tide for Churchland to convert with 25 minutes to go.

Again the teams exchanged tries, Sam Armstrong for Gwydir and Hammond another for the Rangs, for a score of 22-34 with 12 minutes to go and many thought it was now game on!

Unfortunately for Gwydir the Rangs were now at their very best and chip kicks were gold as they blew the final score out in the dying minutes for a 48-22 victory, their first grand final win for 19 years.

What went wrong for Gwydir? Sure they were not as brutally professional as they were in the final the previous week, however they certainly playing a much stronger opposition.

It would be wrong to say the Rangs were not great, they certainly were. On the other hand it would also be wrong to say that Gwydir played badly as they certainly did a lot of good things, just on the day, the Rangs were too good and would have beaten anyone in Group 19.

One of the major differences between the 2013 Rangs and their teams of the past is their scrambling defence.  Time after time, Porter, Duncan and co were denied tries on the line or held up over the line and if one of the near misses had paid off, it could have turned the momentum back to Gwydir.

However one must complement the opposition rather than dwell on what could have been. For Gwydir Porter, Duncan, Mick Hodges and Sam Armstrong were good, Ben Kennedy and Critchlow were great, David McGrady had struggled with a leg injury for a few games and this retarded his brilliance.

Finally everyone can hold their high as they were gracious in defeat and there were plenty of smiles at what had been achieved.

The wonderful morale within the Club was the big winner for the year and this has everyone talking about 2014 and some more great football.

Boomerangs half, Jamie Sampson deserved his player of the grand final award.

In the earlier games Uralla defeated Glen Innes 28-10 in league tag, Rangs defeated Glen Innes 32-22 in under 18s and Armidale defeated Rangs 26-22 in reserve grade.