GALLERY: The future of Gladstone rugby was for all to see
RUGBY UNION: It may be off-season for the seniors, but the Gladstone Goats juniors captured glory in enemy territory.
The Goats' under-13 team created history to become the first junior team to win a grand final trophy for the club after a 34-17 triumph over Nogoa.
Goats' coach Seamus O'Connor, in his first year at the helm, was ecstatic.
"It was an excellent win from the guys on Saturday and we played the semi-final earlier in the afternoon against Biloela and got the win convincingly 25-0," he said.
The decider was a much sterner test and the young Goats were up against it where injuries and a fast-start from Nogoa had asked Goats some serious questions.
But O'Connor's young charges showed resilience after they gave up a big start to level scores at half-time.
"We started off a bit rough and the Nogoa guys came out punching and they were up 12-0 after about five minutes," he said.
"Our guys got a bit of a shock to the system very early on and then shortly after that, we lost our captain Heath Lindenmayer, who did his ankle.
"We lost a key position there and then the guys ground it out to manage to get the scores to 12-all at half-time which was excellent."
Goats hit the lead two minutes into the second half with tries to Nyasha Mhuka before Nogoa responded to trail 19-17.
The next few minutes were tense as Goats were limited to 14 players.
"The boys just showed some really good teamwork and a bit of spirit and put another three tries on and they couldn't catch us, so it was an excellent game," O'Connor said.
"Heath was able to return and that was when we scored the final three tries."
O'Connor said all the things his players executed during training worked a treat when Nogoa applied the pressure.
"The guys had been working hard throughout the season and we have been working on some things at training and it was really good to see them implement everything we've been working on," he said.
There was a two-hour break between the semi-final and the grand final and O'Connor said the players did all the right things such as hydration, stretching and mobility.
The coach lauded powerhouse prop Malachi Tuakura and player-of-the match Trevor King.
"Those two boys worked really well together and when they're working together in the scrum, we were very dominant in scrum time and throughout the rucks as well," he said.
He said the future of the club looks rosy.