Premiership winning Narromine coach Rebecca Smyth lauded her young group of “beautiful” Gorillas after the red fellas rolled their way to a commanding 25-12 Central West Junior Rugby Union under 17s premiership over Orange Emus on Saturday.
The Gorillas, the defending champions, muscled up early in the Grinsted Oval decider and charged through the greens to lead 17-0 at the break.
Tries to prop Jacob Taylor and second-rower Sam Parish, along with two conversions and a penalty goal off the boot of Alex Heap, rocketing Narromine to what turned out to be a title-winning lead.
Another Heap penalty goal early in the second half and then a converted try to Justin Bennett extended Narromine’s lead to 25 points mid-way through the second period, before the minor premiers took their foot off Emus’ throat.
The greens proved gallant despite trailing, and mustered up a couple of well-earned tries to Leo Ferguson and Kyran Ah-see and for a moment looked like nabbing another five-pointer that would have cut the Gorillas lead down to just a score.
But that third try didn’t eventuate, Narromine hanging on to claim back-to-back under 17s crowns, and a third successive title for this group of Gorillas after also winning the 2016 under 15s title.
“They’re such a talented bunch of boys and they’re lovely young men,” an over-joyed Smyth said.
<p>⚫️🔴 BACK-TO-BACK ⚫️🔴<br><br>Narromine stands tall against an Emus side with the wind in its sails late, scoring a 25-12 victory to win a second consecutive <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CWJRU?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CWJRU</a> 17s title. <br><br>🎥 hear from Gorillas coach Rebecca Smyth <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/countryrugby?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#countryrugby</a> <a href="https://t.co/Y1k9gxaIYV">pic.twitter.com/Y1k9gxaIYV</a></p>— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) <a href="https://twitter.com/nickmcgrath4/status/1038274090128179200?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 8, 2018</a>
“There’s no malice in their games, or any of that stuff, they’re a beautiful unit to be part of and coach.”
The victorious coach admits she was a touch worried about an Emus comeback, but it added to the theatre of grand final day.
“They certainly looked like they were going to come back but I’ve always had 100 per cent faith in these boys … I’m always nervous on grand final day but they’ve done really well,” she said.
Emus mentor Mick Wallace was immensely pleased with his outfit but couldn’t take anything away from the victorious Gorillas, the 2018 season’s dominant under 17s side.
“They’re a quality side and they’ve been doing this for the last three years and this, really, is our first crack at a big game,” Wallace said.
“We couldn’t get anything going in the first half and that’s where we lost it.
“We’re a loose side and we like to play. They nullified our strengths and their pick and drive slowed us down, we’ve got a couple of good boys on the ball and Narromine was too good for that today.
“All credit to Narromine though, I’m really pleased for them. As a side that’s won every game with just about a bonus point in each one, they’re a deserved champions.
“Being an old Nyngan boy, I’m pretty happy for them. Disappointed for our blokes but the 17s comp was a good one this year.”
Crafty Narromine halfback Jack Bell won man of the match honors for the Gorillas.
- NARROMINE GORILLAS 25 (Jacob Taylor, Sam Parish, Justin Bennett tries; Alex Heap 2 conversions; Alex Heap 2 pen goals) def ORANGE EMUS 12 (Kyran Ah-see, Leo Ferguson tries; Ryan Manning conversion)