GRUFS? hopes dashed

By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au

TWO tries in the last five minutes to Biloela ended the premiership dreams of the Gladstone GRUFs rugby union team at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The GRUFs who were in their first Rockhampton and District Rugby Union Sub-districts grand final showed plenty of courage, but went down 17-5.

Coach Jon Dalton was proud of his players, praising their level of commitment in a physical game of football.

"The boys were tremendous and gave it a good go,'' Dalton said.

"To lose is disappointing, but we played well and were still in the game with only five minutes to go.

"Unfortunately we just didn't have enough gas in what was a real tough, grinding game of football.''

In reflection, Dalton believed the GRUFs paid the price for not converting their dominance of possession and field position in the first-half.

He estimated the GRUFs had 70 per cent of possession, but they had to settle for a five-all scoreline at half-time.

"We dominated the first-half, but couldn't finish our chances and it ended up hurting us at the finish,'' he said.

Mike Clemerson wrote his name into the record books as the GRUFs only pointscorer, crossing for a well-taken try.

The Kiwi was one of a number of players who played well.

Forwards Dave Loane, Charles Tema and Tim Madden helped lay a platform for the backs to do their tough, crafty work around the park.

As for the backs, centre Sam Carey proved dangerous for the Biloela defence and fullback James Black was as dependable as ever.

A special mention should also go to flyhalf Chris Peters who filled in for the unlucky Damien Redshaw, who missed the game through suspension, with aplomb.

And even though they fell at the final hurdle, coach Dalton is confident the experience is only positive for next season.

"It hurts losing, but most of the boys have committed for next year so hopefully we can go one better then,'' he said.

Biloela 17 defeated Gladstone 5 (M. Clemerson try) at Rugby Park, Rockhampton.



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