Wattles got tough match as they chased minor premiership
RUGBY LEAGUE: Hutchies Cup top-of-the-table premiership contenders the Railway Hotel, Allora Wattles Warriors' bubble burst on Saturday night at a breezy Goondiwindi league headquarters, Gilbert Oval.
Wattles succumbing to the Boars 22-12 in what could be considered an unexpected Warriors loss.
Goondiwindi gifted five-eighth David McGrady was in sensational form throughout, his vital touchdown in the ninth minute of the second half launching the Boars to an inspiring home ground winning result.
McGrady's efforts saw him rewarded with the Meringandan Hotel Player of the Match honours and the Hutchies Cup Player of Round 18.
The Travis Burns-coached Wattles outfit hadn't been beaten since Round 8, including a tough contest against fellow premiership front runners Valleys last week, bumping the Roosters from the top rung.
Burns and his squad were under no illusions as the headed to Goondiwindi, it was always going to be a tough stoush against an ever improving Boars outfit.
Goondiwindi had a fixed focus to secure a top-five spot and a ticket to the finals, Wattles had just to win to pocket the prestigeous minor premiership silverware.
Wattles have been in outstanding form of late, their defence in particular a highlight in their march to the business end of the season in the hunt for the grand final victory that eluded them last year.
That form that has buoyed the Warriors finals march deserted them on Saturday, errors and defensive lapses lining the path for a gutsy win for the Boars.
The Mark Offerdahl coached Boars, who were without classy half Adam Tribe, handled the windy conditions the better and used it to their advantage while the supportive atmosphere of their loyal crowd helped usher the home side to success.
Wattles success of late hit the wall against the enthusiastic and aggressive pack of Boars on the end of a day long Super Saturday rugby league extravaganza featuring the Goondiwindi and Wattles junior and senior clubs.
Coach Burns had to juggle some line up changes due to the loss of team skipper Ryan Duggan and former State League centre Jake Hargreaves as well as up-and-coming top grade recruit Jack Duggan.
Halfback Matt Duggan was Wattles shining light as he worked overtime to inspire his side with his wealth of talents. Teammates back-rower Ty Gardner and centre Nick Van Der Poel also impressed in Wattles third fixture loss of the season.
Fullback Davey Armstrong brought the crowd to their feet when he crossed for the first try of the game in the 11th minute to have Goondiwindi ahead 6-0.
Wattles responded minutes later when rampaging front rower Mitch Duff crashed over to level to score, but Boars back-rower Carl Clement ran in a try 12 minutes prior to the break to lock in a 12-6 home side halftime lead.
Two game changing touch downs in the initial 11 minutes of the second stanza by five-eighth David McGrady and flanker Thomas Davis extended the home side lead to 22-6, the Warriors' minor premiership visions fading in the distance.
Both sides fought out a tough final 25 minutes that yielded a single Wattles try by fullback Andrew Richardson with 12 minutes remaining on the clock. Wattles had their chances to make up lost ground, but it was all too little too late with Goondiwindi coming home with a wet sail.
Valleys convincing 44-28 Sunday afternoon win over the Gatton Hawks at Herb Steinohrt Oval saw them take TRL A Grade minor premiership honours by a single premiership point from Wattles.
A grade: Goondiwindi 22 (David Armstrong, Carl Clement, David McGrady, Thomas Davis tries; David McGrady 3 goals) defeated Wattles 12 (Mitchell Duff, Andrew Richardson tries; Matt Duggan 2 goals).
Reserve grade: Goondiwindi 36 (Levi Wilson 3, Hayden McGrady 2, Jason Saunders 2 tries; Jason Saunders 4 goals) defeated Wattles 16 (Liam Ross, Tom Morris, Jai Robinson tries; Tom Morris 2 goals).
Under 18: Goondiwindi 34 (C Clement 2, L Buckle, W Robinson, H Wilkes, N Duncon tries; N Duncan 4, J Anderson goals) defeated Wattles 26 (Matthew Christensen 2, Owen Hawks, Mitchell Bourke, Darby Peardon tries; Travis Pitman 2, Matthew Christensen goals).