The Castlereagh All Blacks have done it again.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The National Indigenous Touch Football Knockout powerhouse made it four successive championship wins when they downed the Newcastle Yowies in yet another thrilling decider.
After defeating the Yowies 6-4 in the final last year, Castlereagh scored a 6-5 win at the Katrina Gibbs Ovals on Sunday to maintain their place at the top.
"Yowies threw everything at us and we threw everything at them," Castlereagh captain Harry West said.
"That game came down to the last 10 minutes and that's when you've got to grind and everyone has to pick their games up.
"It's all about those one percenters. It's no just about running holes, it's so precise and strategic.
"Yowies were so good but that's four-in-a-row and it's really good."
As has been the case for a number of years now, Castlereagh's stars stood up when needed.
West was again a standout but player of the final Dylan Thompson was hugely influential yet again while the class of Indigenous All Star Jarrad Rotumah and Dubbo's own Australian international Madi Drew also shone in the final.
After raving about Thompson's quality last year, West said playing alongside the State of Origin gun was one of the highlights of the carnival.
"They've all been there and done it," West said of the star trio.
"They've done it at a world level and when it comes to the nitty-gritty in that final five minutes they're level-headed.
"Dyl Thompson is just next level and to run alongside him in the same team is great and it makes the weekend."
The female members of the Castlereagh team also received plenty of praise from their captain.
"Madi is a gun. Caitlin Prestwidge killed it and so did our girl wingers," West added.
"It all comes down the girls and we're not going to do it without them. If they drop a ball out on the wing it's costly but they're catching absolute rockets."
While the entertaining final was worthy of the occasion, almost every match played across the two-day carnival was a spectacle.
That aspect of the Knockout and the quality of the junior divisions also drew praise from West.
Pambilang Coastals won the under 12s and the under 16s divisions, the latter in a brilliant final which finished in a three-v-three drop-off after it finished level at full-time.
In the opens, Castlereagh finished top of a division that featured 11 teams.
"It's all about the youth coming through and we're trying to breed a good generation because they'll take over very shortly," West said.
"To see those two Newcastle going to a drop-off in the grand final was unreal.
"It's a good tournament. There was people who threw teams in two or three days ago. They got 10 or 12 people together and then these kids were just running around.
"The best thing about this is everyone is inclusive and they get around it. There's no bad behaviour and it's a really good environment."
Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.