The 2013 Nanango A Grade team ... triumphant on the day against Blackbutt
The oldest Stag attending the centenary celebration, Alex Kassulke, cut the cake; Alex played during the 1940s (Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)

August 7, 2013

Stags fans had a lot to cheer about at the weekend … not only was the rugby league club celebrating its centenary, but the in-form Premier League team notched up a spectacular win in the local derby against Blackbutt-Yarraman.

Fred Kassulke Oval in Nanango was a sea of “blue-white-blue” for the centenary celebrations.

Junior Stags – in action in U6s, U8s, U10s, U12s and U16s –  have probably never played in front of so many supporters before.

But the biggest welcome was reserved for the Premier League squad, fresh from a two-point victory over fellow centenary team, the Blackbutt-Yarraman Timbertowners, last week.

The Nanango players were ushered onto the field through a guard of honour of former Stags (and a few Nanango players who could remember way back when the team wasn’t known as the Stags …)

The game was played under lights. The excited roar from the clubhouse and bar every time a Nanango player grabbed the ball spurred the local team on to new heights (see match report below).

Afterwards, former players and supporters mingled and swapped memories at a reunion pig-on-the-spit dinner held in the clubhouse.

[Photos: Clive Lowe Photography and southburnett.com.au]

The Nanango U12s defeated Kingaroy 22-20 in an earlier match on the day
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
2013 Nanango U6s
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
2013 Nanango U10s
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
Nanango Club president Jason Bellert with former players Neil Perrett and Mike Burns; Neil played in the premiership-winning 1959 team while Mike was captain / coach of the 1977 premiership side
Life member Des McCallum was busy all day on the microphone ... as ground announcer and then later during the clubhouse celebrations (Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
Newly presented Life Member Warren Hockey thanked the club for the honour; also made a life member was Cr Barry Green
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
Old Stags formed a guard of honour to shepherd the 2013 Stags onto the field for their A Grade match
More of the old Stags ready to greet the 2013 players
Nanango stalwarts Bruce Webb and former Nanango mayor Reg McCallum (who played from 1941-1949)
John Scott (1994) and former Stags president Warren Hockey
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
Having a great time at the birthday game were ex-Stags Rory Monaghan and Michael Baulson, from Nanango
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
The boys weren't the only fans celebrating ... some of the girls on the hill, Jen Swan, Sonia Russell, Simone Kucyk and Johanne Platt (Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
Leo Caffery and Bill Andress were enjoying the game from the sidelines
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
Jack Weston, Andy Nicolls, Shayelle Rasmussen and Brooke Pollock
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
Working hard behind the scenes ... Stag volunteers serve up roast pork and chicken rolls
(Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)

* * *

Blackbutt defenders pull up a Stags' attacking run close to the line early in the first half
A scoreline that Stags' fans are sure to remember (Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)

On the football field, the A Grade clash between the two centenary teams was much anticipated in the wake of the narrow victory by Nanango over Blackbutt the previous week.

As predicted, the first half was close with both sides scoring three converted tries apiece.

With the scores locked 18-all, fans would have expected the second half to be equally balanced but someone forgot to tell the Stags …

Nanango – cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd – scored an incredible 56 unanswered points during the last 40 minutes, much to the delight of their fans packed in front of the clubhouse.

The Stags’ first half tries were scored by Chris Sperling, Brian De La Cruz and Jayden Jarvis. Brett Simpson kicked three from three.

Their second half points came from tries to James Webb, Pat McCallum (2), James Kemp, Brett Simpson, Brad Staples, Ben Brown (2), Wade Gregg and Shane Williams. Simpson kicked 8 from 10 attempts.

Nanango dominated possession. At the midway point in the half, the Timbertowners had only completed one set of six.

A highlight for Nanango fans came 12 minutes from the full-time siren when Blackbutt failed to find the line after a penalty kick.

Simpson pulled the ball out of the air and took off. A few movements later, Nanango’s oldest player on the field, Bill Mulcahy, passed the ball to the youngest Stag, Wade Gregg, to score.

Blackbutt’s 18 points came via tries to Keiran Harvey, Dylan Gilliland and Darren Packer. Alex Cronin kicked two goals and Ashley Smallwood, one.

The final score was Nanango 74, Blackbutt 18.

A large crowd packed into the licensed area and in front of the clubhouse to cheer home the Stags in the main match

* * *

Cherbourg's defence was too strong for the Wolves (Photo: clivelowephotography.com.au)
Nigel Williams scores the first of his two tries for Cherbourg; he had a hand in at least three others

In the first A Grade match played on the day, Cherbourg dominated the Wondai Wolves in the second half, running away with a 60-28 victory.

But the first half was much more even with the scores locked 16-all at half-time after the Wolves scored three times in the last 15 minutes of the half (Brenton List, Luke Bond and Shane Cliff).

Wondai started well again after the break, with Luke Bond crossing in the corner; Luke Hedges’ conversion briefly put the Wolves into the lead.

But just a few minutes later Cherbourg’s Carl Aubrey scored back-to-back tries and the Hornets had resumed the lead, 24-22.

Cherbourg then piled on three more tries before Wondai troubled the scorer again with a try to Brodie Litfin.

But the Hornets weren’t finished, taking three more tries before the full-time siren.

Try scorers for Cherbourg were: Daniel Cobbo, Nigel Williams (2), Fred Aubrey (3), Carl Aubrey (3), Stafford Saltner and Marcus Dynevor. Fred Aubrey kicked eight goals.

Try scorers for Wondai were: Brenton List, Luke Bond (2), Shane Cliff and Brodie Litfin. Luke Hedges kicked four goals.

* * *

Semi-finals begin in the A Grade next Saturday with both games to be played at Wondai.

In the major semi-final, Cherbourg will face Wondai, and in the sudden-death match Nanango will re-play Blackbutt for the third weekend in a row.

The following weekend, the loser of the major semi will play the winner of the knockout semi at Blackbutt.

Luke Bond hurdles a Hornets' defender to score in the opening minute of the second half
Wondai struggled at times against Cherbourg's big men, especially in the second half

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