Fightback denies Collegians win
A LATE fightback by Goondiwindi denied Collegians three grand final victories in the Warwick and District Junior Rugby League on Saturday at Sullivan Oval, Stanthorpe.
Goondiwindi started the day with wins against Wattles in the U11 game and host team Stanthorpe in the U12 premiership decider.
Collegians won the U13 and U14 grand finals and led 12-0 at halftime in the U16 game after two tries by second rower Quinton Mauch.
Dan Watson converted both tries.
A Goondiwindi side boasting a number of representative players was never going to wonder about what might have been and scored first up in the second half.
Fullback Alex Stewart scored wide out to put his side up 16-6 before Goondiwindi came back on the back of some class play by five-eighth Tom Fitzgerald and centre Lachlan Fleming who showed plenty of speed.
Goondiwindi scored three tries in the final 11 minutes of play to lead 20-16 before Collegians were left with three minutes to engineer a winning try.
Collegians attacked and received a penalty with 48 seconds to go on the quarter line but a pass went begging and Goondiwindi celebrated a third win on the day.
A feature of the U16 grand final was a drop out by Watson for Collegians which found touch 65 metres downfield at a crucial time in the second half.
Collegians coach George McVeigh said he couldn't be happier with the efforts of his team.
"Ball possession went against us in the second half and we made three critical knock ons," he said.
Goondiwindi captain Will Carter said the words from coach Mal Peckham and manager Shaun Andersen at halftime boosted the team's second half performance.
"They spoke about the whole season, our group turned into a family more than a football team," he said.
Collegians president Glen Williamson said the club was delighted to win two of the three grand finals they contested.
"It was a great effort by the players," he said.
Under 16: Goondiwindi 20 (Tom Fitzgerald 2, Lachlan Fleming, Tom Milton tries, Malcolm McGrady, Tom Milton goals) d Collegians 16 (Quinton Mauch 2, Alex Stewart tries, Daniel Watson 2 goals).
Under 14: Collegians 28 (Michael Coleman 2, Joshua Haggar, Will Dearden, Zachary Stevens tries, Rhys Farrell 4 goals) d Eastern Suburbs 8 (Dustin Close, Kodi Rigney tries.
Under 13: Collegians 28 (James Wallace 2, Samual Frattini 2, Augustine Stowers tries, Dylan Lippi 4 goals) d Goondiwindi 10 (Heza Roberts, Shane Nowlan tries, Glenn McGrady goal).
Under 12: Goondiwindi 28 (David Armstrong 2, Jed Kindt, Brenton Clement, Tristan Powell tries; David Armstrong, Brenton Clement goals) d Stanthorpe 6 (Jake Burnell try, Zeke Walter goal).
Under 11: Goondiwindi 18 (Torben Milton 2, Josh Billings tries; Connor Clement, Torben Milton, Josh Billings goals) d Wattles 0.