DEFENDING CHAMPIONS RETAIN QSST OPEN CROWNS

first_imgMetropolitan East (Open Girls) and Northern (Open Boys) defended their Queensland Secondary Schools Touch State Championship crowns with deserved grand final victories at the Gold Coast Touch Association complex at Owen Park, Southport on Sunday 29 April 2007.Met East, with no less than eight current Open or 15 Years State representatives, were hot pre tournament favourites in the Open Girls division.The talented outfit swept all before them in the round games before being pushed all the way by a gallant Metropolitan West combination in an entertaining final that resulted in a 3-2 victory to the defending champions.In semi-final action, Met East, guided by Peter Bell, Australia’s most successful International coach in the history of the sport, dispatched South Coast 8-2.Met West, under the direction of 2005 Australian Youth World Cup 18 Years Girls Coach Mick Kelly, defeated Northern 10-3 in their semi-final to set up an absorbing showdown in the “Battle of Brisbane” for the State crown.The game was end to end in the opening exchanges with both sides denied the early ascendancy by desperate last-ditch defensive efforts.After several close calls, Met East’s Cobras Women’s Open NTL young gun Kelly Jones sliced through from acting half and managed to find the ever present Tallon Mc Carthy who dotted down for a 1- 0 lead.Met West hit back strongly when the free running Lorna Blair exploded out of acting half to surprise the Met East defence and gift wrap a long range touchdown for Ashley Monkland who squared the ledger at 1-1.The game ebbed and flowed, and right on half time Met East’s Sharks Women’s Open NTL pocket dynamo Kristy Brennan nearly sent her team to oranges breathing a little easier when she scythed through from acting half, only to be denied by some fantastic on line defence from the Met West team who covered support players expertly to keep their title dreams alive.Both teams had their chances after half time, but it was big game specialist, the indefatigueable Gen La Caze who stepped up to the plate to generate a quick hands play that gave Kristy Brennan an opportunity to race twenty metres and score with her signature dive over for a 2-1 lead.Met West, with talented National Youth squad members Ali Brigginshaw, Toni Tupuhi, and Lizzie Campbell were never going to go quietly, and it was the combination of long time Brisbane Metropolitan junior touch team mates Campbell and Brigginshaw that conjured a short play close to the line to allow Brigginshaw to slide over and put the teams back on level terms at 2-2.Both teams searched for the chink in the opposition’s armour, and it was Gen La Caze, running a beautiful A/B line that split the Met West middles to create space for the touchdown hungry Kristy Brennan to secure her second and put the champions in front 3 – 2 with little time left on the clock.Ali Brigginshaw threw the kitchen sink at Met East in a valiant attempt to inspire a late comeback, but the clock and the stout Met East defence was having none of it, and the game ended in the next set with the defending champions holding on for a deserved 3-2 win.Player of the Series, Met East’s Kristy Brennan was outstanding, and was well supported by Player of the Final Gen La Caze, the classy Kelly Jones, and Kirsty Quince, whose tireless efforts in attack and defence would make the Energizer bunny look over his shoulder and question his work ethic. Ali Brigginshaw and Lizzie Campbell were fantastic for a spirited Met West side that gave a great account of themselves against the odds.Northern completed an emphatic 5-2 victory over Metropolitan West in the Open Boys division. The highly skilled and fleet footed country combination secured a three peat of State Championships to underline the enormous spread of talent across Queensland in the school system.In semi-final action, Northern disposed of South Coast 11-3, and Met West triumphed over South Coast 7-2.In the Boys grand final, both teams searched for the early lead and came close with several attacking forays being thwarted only by last gasp defence, or poor option taking with the ball in hand.Northern drew first blood with an exceptional piece of play from the gifted Kristian Congoo who brought the crowds back to Touch with a simultaneous dive for the score line to the left and a well weighted flick pass to the right to part the middles on the scoreline for the alert Joel Townson to dive over and give the boys from the North a 1-0 lead.Met West pressed the line twice in the next few sets only to be denied by some great vision in defence by Josh Hall who nabbed two intercepts in quick succession to deny the Brisbane boys the equalizer.That man Congoo, who was busier than Santa’s elves on Christmas eve, couldn’t stay out of the action and he dotted down after a glorious long ball from play maker Chris Taiters to give the Northern boys a 2-0 score line.Met West were entitled to feel a little unlucky with several early chances going astray until their little general Matty Hopkin engineered some great flowing phase then finished off with a pinpoint long ball for Clargie Saltmere to narrow the gap to 2-1.The momentum continued to swing in the next few minutes and Met West fans kept the faith as Hopkin, on a hot streak, continued to dictate terms, splitting the Northern defence from acting half to link up with John Fainges to lock the contest up at 2-2.On the stroke of half time the game was turned on its head again when the impressive Chris Taiters got through the line for Northern and Congoo found space to score his second touchdown and give the boys from the bush a 3-2 advantage.After the break, both teams dug in, fully aware of the impact the next score would have on the complexion of the contest. Met West needed to score to stay alive, Northern wanted to break their opposition’s spirits and earn some breathing space.It should not surprise that the mercurial Kristian Congoo waved the magic wand once more, selling an audacious dummy close to the line to plunge over to snare a hat trick of touchdowns and put his team 4-2 up.Met West tried hard to rally, but when Joel Townson produced a masterful reverse flick pass for Mitchell Lauder to score and take Northern out to a 5-2 lead, the three peat souvenir t-shirts were being broken out of the box for Coach Shane Laskey and the Northern team who have set the benchmark for school touch in Queensland for the last three years.The fat lady was half way up the Pacific Highway when the full time siren sounded and a resounding 5-2 verdict went the way of Northern.Kristian Congoo was awarded the Player of the Final, whilst Lyle Murgha from Peninsula was named Player of the Series.At the conclusion of the tournament QSST Coaches Peter Bell (Girls) and Kathy O’Brien (Boys) named State Teams to contest the National 18 Years Tournament in Coffs Harbour from 17-21 September 2007.The 2007 QSST Open Teams:Girls: Genevieve La Caze, Kristy Brennan, Kelly Jones, Kirsty Quince, Candice Humm, Mtia Tass, Tallon Mc Carthy (Met East), Ali Brigginshaw, Lizzie Campbell, Toni Tupuhi (Met. West), Kirsty Beer (Wide Bay), Jess Shaw (South Coast), Jane Royal (Northern), Melissa Henare, Rebecca Lapraik (Sun Coast)Coach: Peter Bell, Assistant Coach: Karley Banks, Manager: Peta RogersonBoys: Chris Taiters, Mitchell Lauder, Kristian Congoo (Northern), Matt Hopkin, Cody Green, Clargie Saltmere (Met. West), Peter Norman, Dylan Taikato (South Coast), Ben Drury, Jayden Taylor (Capricornia), Lawrence Oberlenter, Lyle Murgha (Peninsula), Alex Patikura (Darling Downs), Nathan Boys (Sun Coast), Chris Rankine (North West)Coach: Kathy O’Brien, Assistant Coach: Ryan Pollock, Manager: Adrian Brandonlast_img

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