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]
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.
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.
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