Raw talent ensures teams? future
THEIR A grade sides may have struggled in 2005, but both Valleys and Tannum Sands appear to have a bright future judging by Saturday's under-17 Gladstone and District Junior Rugby League grand final.
In an open, entertaining game of football at Marley Brown Oval, the Diehards claimed the premiership honours, winning 32-18.
But the level of raw talent in the two teams could ensure both sides are rewarded in the near future.
Led by classy halves Jareth Adams and Luke Halliwell, Valleys were electric early on, scoring three tries inside the first 15 minutes to lead 12-0.
The Diehards continued to apply the pressure, but two bombed tries gave the Seagulls a chance to get back into the contest.
And they did get back when Lee Thorley crossed to make it 12-6 after 21 minutes.
An error from the resultant kick-off blew any chance of sustained Tannum pressure and Valleys got onto the scoreboard when fullback Chris Kellow crossed under the posts to make it 18-6 at the main break.
Tannum Sands looked flat after half-time and their heads dropped that little bit more when Matthew Paulsen intercepted a pass and ran 90 metres to make it 24-6.
Classy fullback Kellow appeared to seal the game with his second try of the match just three minutes later.
Displaying a never-say-die attitude, the Seagulls picked themselves up off the canvas through tries to Matt Haynes and Noah Marsh inside five minutes.
Marsh's try in particular was an absolute classic as he fielded a kick, beat the cover defence and ran 75 metres to lift the Marley Brown crowd off their feet.
The conversion made it 28-18 and the Seagulls had all the momentum with 14 minutes left on the clock.
But Valleys kept their composure and sealed their premiership when Dave Bartlett crashed over and kicked a sideline conversion.
Both sides had a number of players who have A grade talent written all over them.
For Valleys, five-eighth Jareth Adams was magnificent, while fullback Kellow, big prop Adrian Josefski and halfback Luke Halliwell played well.
Tireless lock Shaun Casey was great in a losing cause for the Seagulls, while other notable performers were Callum Coughlin and Marsh.
Valleys 34 (Chris Kellow 2, Michael Chadwick, Matthew Paulsen, Jareth Adams, Luke Halliwell, Dave Bartlett tries, Bartlett 2 goals) defeated Tannum Sands 18 (Lee Thorley, Matthew Haynes, Noah Marsh tries, Nathan Brookes 3 goals)