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Qld's best to contest Arrive Alive
A KEEBRA Park blitz has sent the Gold Coast school cart wheeling into the national Arrive Alive Cuo final on Friday September 22, beating St Dominic?s Penrith 20-6 in Friday?s semi final at Townsville.
Against bigger opposition Keebra scored three tries in the opening 13 minutes to all but seal the result, establishing a 14-0 advantage by the halftime break.
The highlight of the game came just three minutes in when former Gladstone junior Damon Harth scored a scorching try from dummy-half, running 40m to bring the Dairy Farmers Stadium crowd alive.
Equally at home in the centres or forwards, Harth started at lock and danced confidently through a stack of defenders as he plunged over for the opening try.
His incision was followed five minutes later with a try to centre Kyle Bos down a narrow blindside. At first glance it appeared Bos had bombed a certain try to the open side, but made amends with his determination to find the line.
As has been the case all season, the well-drilled Keebra side showed maturity beyond their years, responding well to adversity and quickly recovering from errors.
Their line speed in defence was again something to behold and they took the match to their southern rivals with a fierce intensity.
When centre Kingi Akauola ? a prominent figure throughout the school?s charge ? dived over for Keebra?s third try, it was all one way traffic.
Yet to St Dominic?s credit they hung on until halftime with a passage of football which saw them give as good as they got.
St Dominic?s had beaten highly-rated St Gregory?s Campbelltown 28-20 the previous week and there was enough to suggest they would lift in the second stanza.
Unfortunately for them, before they could muster a response, the elusive Robert Lui pounced for Keebra.
Playing in front of his old home crowd, the Townsville Centrals and Upper Ross junior made it 18-0, extended to 20-0 when Matt Parata added the extras.
Not long after St Dominic?s notched their first points with a slick try to winger John Feiloakitau, finishing off a backline movement. Backrower Michael Mate converted for a 20-6 difference.
With almost 20 minutes left on the clock there was plenty of time to bridge the gap, but poor ball handling from both sides took the sting from the match, the scoreline remaining unchanged.
Although not featuring on the scorer?s sheet, Keebra?s front row of Stu McGill, Lio Vaiga and Jimmy Poland deserved much of the credit. McGill and Vaiga punched holes in attack and hit hard in defence, while skipper Poland gave good direction and a steadying influence to his side.
Keebra?s opponents in the national final, to be held in Sydney, will be either reigning champs Endeavour Sports High or Patrician Brothers Blacktown.
KEEBRA PARK SHS 20 (Damon Harth, Kyle Bos, Kingi Akauola, Robert Lui tries; Matt Parata 2 goals) d ST DOMINIC?S PENRITH 6 (John Feiloakitau try; Michael Mate goal) at Dairy Farmers Stadium.