THE best under-12s rugby league teams from around the state converged on Gladstone for the Jason Hetherington Cup at the weekend.
Saturday was a tough afternoon for the local teams.
Calliope Roosters fought valiantly against the Kawana Dolphins, whose players included some big lads.
A mistake by the Dolphins at kick-off gave the Roosters a good start, and after conceding a try, the Roosters looked set to hit back with a set of six that nearly resulted in a try.
But the Roosters lost momentum, struggling to contain Dolphins' forwards.
Kawana scored a great second try with a good face ball from the talented five-eighth, and frustrated Calliope with some courageous on-line defence. Calliope was denied a try after a great cut-out pass was knocked on over the line, and failed to stop the stronger team.
Calliope coach Graeme McDonald said the Roosters had done exceptionally well given the size and mobility of their opposition.
"We're a little side, but we're a pretty gutsy little side."
He was impressed with the performances of Calliope players Bailey Watkins, Connor Claridge and Jai Hansen in the 8-0 loss.
It was a similar story for other local competitors, the Biolela Valleys, who were defeated by Bundaberg's Across the Waves.
Valleys found themselves down two tries to one early on.
Waves mounted attack after attack as the Valleys boys tried desperately to cling on.
Valleys coach Tim Tibbits said Liam Wiley, Jackon Hoyland and Dillon Bartlett were standouts.