If you arrived knowing nothing about either Dubbo Roos’ or Mudgee Wombats’ under 13s sides heading into Saturday’s Central West Junior Rugby Union grand finals, you certainly left without any doubt both teams have gun outside centres.
Roos skipper Tom Cuthill was tremendous for the eventual premiers throughout a 36-24 triumph over the Batties, but his opposite Campbell Holgate did his utmost to make the Dubbo boys work for the title.
Cuthill bagged a double while Holgate’s tremendous line-running was a feature of the decider, which kicked off the CWJRU grand final day at Grinsted Oval, Forbes.
Holgate bagged a grand final five-pointer, too, and threatened to lift the Wombats over Roos when the minor premiers’ lead was cut to just seven points deep into the second stanza.
But the Roos boys prevailed, a late runaway try to Thomas Martens, his second of the grand final, sealing the 36-24 result.
In the end, Dubbo inside centre Jonah Raidaveta was deemed man of the match, his powerhouse game in the midfield a strength of the young Roos.
But it was Cuthill’s leadership, and the fact he was able to bag 14 points in the decider, that steadied the champions when they needed it most.
<p>Full-time in under 13s <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CWJRU?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CWJRU</a> grand final, Roos hold off a dogged Wombats to win 36-24 - late Dubbo try extending their lead.<br><br>Jonah Raidaveta named man of the match, could easily have gone to Will Cuthill too. Both were great. <br><br>Roos, the 2018 minor and major premiers <a href="https://t.co/7K7DscFTQi">pic.twitter.com/7K7DscFTQi</a></p>— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) <a href="https://twitter.com/nickmcgrath4/status/1038227712177926144?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 8, 2018</a>
Dubbo coach Mark O’Donnell praised his entire side after it capped a fine 2018 in the best possible fashion.
“They’ve tried hard all year. This is awesome,” O’Donnell said, his side leading from start to finish but never skipping too far ahead of their rivals.
“They’re a very professional outfit, Mudgee. They’re a top class side with a lot of Central West reps, it was a good game of footy.”
Mudgee coach Phil English heaped praise on the champion Roos outfit
“Roos has always been the side, as far as the competition is concerned, everyone has been chasing ... they’ve had a great season,” he added.
“I think today just wasn’t our day.
(Mudgee and Dubbo) got beaten around by the older sides last year so it’s a great story to see them both here today.Wombats coach Phil English.
“The run of the green went Dubbo’s way a little bit. It was just a good game of rugby. It was hard, but Dubbo deserved it today.
English added playing in Saturday’s grand final was just reward for both sides after difficult 2017 campaigns as bottom age outfits in the under 13s title race.
“The thing with both of these sides is they suffered last year as younger sides in the competition,” he said.
“They got beaten around by the older sides so it’s a great story to see them both here today.
“Both teams use the ball well and Dubbo did really well. It was a pleasure to watch them today.”
- DUBBO ROOS 36 (William Cuthill 2, Thomas Martens 2, Joe Sinclair, Jonah Raidaveta tries; William Cuthill 2, Ned Jones conversions) def MUDGEE WOMBATS 24 (Callum Wilson, Flynn English, Campbell Holgate, Izaiah Hall tries; Flynn English 2 conversions)