30 hours ago
The Easts Tigers have tasted grand final glory after a last minute penalty goal secured a nail-biting 20-18 victory over Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the FOGS Colts decider at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
With the scoreboard locked at 18-all, and Easts on the attack, a Wynnum play-the-ball infringement gave the Tigers a late chance to snatch victory with a shot at goal.
However the kick - situated 20 metres out and about 10 metres in from touch - was far from easy. But fullback Brendan Harper remained cool under pressure, slotting the winning points to send the Tigers into frenzied celebrations.
Hardworking second rower and captain Steve Tyrrell claimed official Man of the Match honours, while sneaky hooker Mark Gordon was a constant threat from dummy half.
The first big play of the match saw some desperate Wynnum defence deny Easts winger Joe Bobbin in the corner but it didn't stop the Tigers rocketing out to a 14-nil lead after just 14 minutes.
Easts first try came off the back of a Gordon dart up the middle, before a juggle and pass on the next play from Harper sent centre Max Dudley over out wide.
The Tigers then went back-to-back when Matthew Ruthenberg capitalised on an overlap on the left flank following a break from the fleet footed playmaker Jono Stewart.
Stewart was again the spark in an Easts' attacking raid, this time the halfback showed guile beyond his years to put a rampaging Dudley through a gap for his double - the big striding centre outpaced the Seagulls cover defence.
Wynnum finally earned field position and two quick tries to Daniel Dewhurst put them right back in the contest. The speedy centre dived over in the corner before a Seagulls bomb ricocheted straight into his arms in the 23rd minute.
Dewhurst had a chance to grab a quickfire hattrick on the stroke of halftime but couldn't gather the pass with the line wide open, leaving the game in the balance at 14-8 to Easts at the break.
The Seagulls gave Tigers supporters an even bigger fright when hooker Trent Liebig stepped his way to the line in the early stages of the second half.
But an inspirational run from Tyrrell allayed fears - the captain showed surprising acceleration to surge past defenders on the fringe of the ruck, pushing Easts' advantage out to 18-12.
However, Wynnum Manly refused to say die and an equally barnstorming surge from prop Matt Smith levelled scores with only 15 minutes remaining.
In an extremely tense finish, the Seagulls nearly snatched the lead when Keda Moylan stole a bomb but some resolute Tigers defence held up the centre in the ingoal.
The focus then turned to field goals - an attempt from Stewart was charged down in the dying stages before a penalty in the next set for play-the-ball interference gave the Tigers the chance to take the two points.
With all eyes - players and supporters included - transfixed on the kick, Harper remained composed to add the crucial points as the siren sounded in the background.
The premiership is the second in succession at Colts level for Easts and shows that, despite a lean year in the Queensland Cup, the future remains bright for the Tigers.
Easts Tigers 20
Tries: Max Dudley 2, Matthew Ruthenberg, Steve Tyrrell
Goals: Brendan Harper 3
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 18
Tries: Daniel Dewhurst 2, Trent Liebig, Matt Smith
Goals: Tyson Brookes
at Suncorp Stadium, 10:10am
Referee: Jon Kennedy
Sideline: Adam Bartlett & Brian Roper
Weather: Overcast, light intermittent drizzle
Halftime: Easts 14-8
1. Brendan Harper 2. Matthew Ruthenberg 3. Max Dudley 4. Daniel Wallace 5. Joe Bobbin 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Jono Stewart 8. Charlie Jones 9. Mark Gordon 10. Daniel Hauiti 11. Blair Young 12. Steven Tyrrell (c) 13. Chris Cook 14. Mboya Adams 15. Waita Setu 16. Eni Folau 17. Lindon Miranda
Coach: Peter Edwards
Wynnum Manly Seagulls
1. Ben Davey 2. Nathan Kapernick 3. Daniel Dewhurst 4. Keda Moylan 5. Tyson Brookes 6. Kristian Wanka 7. Chris Green 8. Linton Godden 9. Trent Liebig 10. Matt Smith 11. Dylan Eggins 12. Casey Rogers 13. James Hanley 14. Jarrod Parsons 15. Anthony Shaw 16. Luke Ferry 17. Terry Carroll
Coach: Daniel Frame