Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
5 days ago
Queensland's Keebra Park State High has progressed to the national final of the 2005 Arrive Alive Cup after beating Farrer Memorial Agricultural High 22-0 at Telstra Stadium.
The victory sees the Gold Coast institution pitted against Endeavour Sports High at Aussie Stadium on Saturday, September 24 at 4.10pm.
Last weekend's match fired quickly when a Farrer mistake presented Keebra with an opportunity in attack. Keebra capitalised and with an inside ball to back rower Ben Te'o, opened their account with a four pointer. A successful conversion to Matthew Parata saw Keebra out to 6-0 lead after only three minutes.
The teams then settled and executed rolling sets of both attack and defence, both looking to crack their opposition. A number of penalties saw Farrer receive consecutive sets but they were unable to convert through some dropped ball.
The closest chance came when the Armidale school elected to go down the short side but lost control of the ball over the Keebra goal line.
Keebra then received a penalty and after some continued pressure were able to cross through halfback Jimmy Poland who stretched out to score.
With seven and a half minutes remaining in the first half Keebra had increased their lead to 12-0. It showed the strength of Keebra Park, able to make the most of the opportunities that were presented.
The restart that followed saw Farrer kick the ball out on the full which gave Keebra a penalty on half way. Poor ball handling then saw Keebra lose possession, allowing Farrer to go on the attack. With only one minute remaining Farrer opted for an early kick which was cleaned up by Keebra, the half time score remained at 12-0.
The second half started quickly with Keebra breaking the Farrer line in their first set. A kick into the in-goal on the sixth was forced dead by Farrer giving Keebra a repeat set. From the goal line drop out Keebra Park put together a strong attacking set and a run from dummy half saw five-eighth Dane McDonald dive over for a try.
Keebra maintained the pressure and crossed again after six minutes when prop Herman Retzlaff made a break up the middle of the field. McDonald got his hands on the ball and he was able to get over for his second try in as many minutes. Keebra had skipped to a 22-0 convincing lead.
The following phases of the semi final were very tight with both teams displaying some solid defence. The Farrer crowd willed their team on and the boys obliged. Farrer threw everything at Keebra in their efforts to secure a grand final berth but came up empty. Keebra kept their line intact in a positive defensive display.
It saw Keebra take out the match 22-0 and showed the strength of their team in both attack and defence. The early tries in both halves provided the platform for a solid win leaving Farrer having to come from behind for the entire game.
Keebra Park now look towards the Grand Final when they will return to Sydney.
Arrive Alive Cup Grand Final Endeavour Sports High School vs Keebra Park State High School Saturday 24 September - Aussie Stadium - 4.10pm
Thanks to www.qrl.com.au for another great article.