Kotoni Staggs, Luke Gale and now, welcome to the club, Charlie Staines.
Group 11 has been blessed with a throng of class juniors who’ve helped their respective clubs to premierships in their last season in Group 11 and on Sunday Staines added his name to that illustrious list with a stirring display at the back as Forbes won its first under 18s title since 2014.
Staines laid on two of Forbes’ first half tries as the Magpies, the 2018 undefeated minor premiers, flexed their muscle on rout to a 20-0 lead at the break.
CYMS fought back somewhat in the second half but the black and whites survived that mini momentum swing and piled on a couple more late tries to Kristian Markwort ending the score at 34-12.
Staines added the polish on the end of everything good Forbes did throughout a dominant first 30 minutes, and now sits alongside names like Staggs (Wellington) and Gale (Macquarie) as title winners in their last season of juniors in Group 11.
“He’s a great player,” an emotional Forbes coach Jason Kennedy said.
“He probably hasn’t played his best with us but today he was a class above them and I’m so happy for him.”
Staines was quick to prepare for a first grade decider almost immediately after the 18s triumph, a game that had a lot of black and white players and supporters in tears post game.
<p>BLACK AND WHITE DELIGHT!! <br><br>Forbes wins its first <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Group11?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Group11</a> under 18s premiership since 2014 after a stirring 34-12 win over CYMS.<br><br>MOTM - fullback Charlie Staines. <br><br>🎥 Magpies 5/8 Toby Hurford <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bushfooty?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bushfooty</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/WesternRams?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WesternRams</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CountryRL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CountryRL</a> <a href="https://t.co/dzmHgSuA91">pic.twitter.com/dzmHgSuA91</a></p>— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) <a href="https://twitter.com/nickmcgrath4/status/1038655944224202754?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 9, 2018</a>
Kennedy was one of those.
“It was very emotional ... the build up we’ve had over the last few weeks, we had a goal and we were always confident of getting that last bit … but I’ve been to a few grand finals and never won once. It’s good to get the monkey off the back,” the victorious coach said.
“It was a big season for the boys,” skipper Aaron Mawhinney added with a hint of a tear in his eye as well.
“We went through undefeated and we knew there was a lot of pressure. We got up early but slackened off in the second half but we were able to bring it home in the end … the support from Forbes got us there.
“I’m very happy. There’s a lot of emotional people there today.”
... he was a class above them and I’m so happy for him.Forbes coach Jason Kennedy on man of the match Charlie Staines.
Staines set up the first try of the game after a slashing kick return from his own 30 metre line.
He split the CYMS defence and managed to find hooker Campbell Woolnough in support, the Western rake darting to score the game’s first four-pointer.
A lead of six was soon 14 after half Tom Toohey scored a converted try and then kicked a penalty goal two minutes before the break.
The minor premiers look content to lead by 14 going into the sheds but Staines had other ideas.
He injected himself down the Magpies short side and an incising run caught the attention of the Fishies defence, before the gifted No.1 showed off another string to his bow and produced a deft pass that sent rampaging centre Dennis Spathis over for a telling four-pointer in the shadows of half-time.
Toohey nailed the sideline conversion in gusty conditions and a 20-0 lead was almost always going to gift the Magpies the title.
CYMS fought back gallantly in the second stanza and produced two quick-fire tries through Sam Thompson – his a stunning individual effort – and rep centre Aiden Lake to shred Forbes’ lead to just 12 with 10 minutes remaining.
<p>SPATHIS WITH THE KILLER BLOW?<br><br>The barnstorming centre scores just before the break, Toohey nails the sideline conversion and Forbes has a VERY handy lead at the break.<br><br>Staines brilliant for the Pies.<br><br>All on Burton from here, if CYMS is to get back in this 18s decider <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Group11?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Group11</a> <a href="https://t.co/HajrmaQ7Uv">pic.twitter.com/HajrmaQ7Uv</a></p>— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) <a href="https://twitter.com/nickmcgrath4/status/1038638766104051713?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 9, 2018</a>
But that CYMS fightback looked to steel the young swoopers.
And tries to Tom Maguire and then Markwort’s late double – great reward for a stunning game for the Forbes’ three-quarter – capped a memorable grand final outing for the black and whites, one highlighted by Staines and some outstanding defence from the eventual premiers.
“We pride ourselves on our defence. Keeping them to nil was a big effort from the boys,” Mawhinney said.
- FORBES MAGPIES 34 (Kristian Markwort 2, Dennis Spathis, Tom Toohey, Tom Maguire, Campbell Woolnough tries; Tom Toohey 5 goals) def DUBBO CYMS 12 (Sam Thompson, Aiden Lake tries; Matt Burton 2 goals)