August 17, 2023
South Burnett Thrashers have looked back in pride on their many achievements in a big year for the local rugby union club, despite missing out on the ultimate prize.
They went down 35-19 against the Goondiwindi Emus in the Preliminary Final, after being behind 21-12 at half-time.
The game was played at Gundy’s home ground on August 5.
Thrashers’ try scorers were Amosa Nuu, Mesulame Verenasau and Malaki Malaki. Nikolao Petueli kicked two conversions.
The Preliminary Final, which would have earned the team a spot in the Grand Final, was one stage higher than 2022 when the Thrashers lost out in the Minor Semi-Final.
Club president Jamie Shirlaw pointed out that despite this loss in C Grade in 2022, the Thrashers had been promoted to the B Grade Darling Downs competition for the 2023 season.
“The move to B Grade meant that scrums were now contested,” Jamie said.
“The first few games this year were played with uncontested scrums to give us the time to prepare for real scrums.
“The forward pack was able to train quickly to be able to be a dominant force at scrum time.
“We had one more home game than in 2022 so we were able to showcase more of the exciting game style of the new Thrashers.
“In the two years of the club we have been able to foster an exciting and dynamic game play that is not typical in the Darling Downs.
“With the fast-flowing footy came cultural changes, too. After each game, no matter if we won or lost, the players would huddle together to sing a hymn and pray.
“It did not take long for the Thrashers to invite the opposition into the huddle.
“It was great to see after a full physical game of rugby both teams linked arm-in-arm singing together.
“It is what rugby is about, especially country rugby. What happens on the field is left there and we are able to have a laugh and a drink after the game.
“We were able to sit in the top two spots of the ladder for the majority of the season.
“Unfortunately in the last few weeks, a chink was seen in our armour and we dropped back into third spot.
“As other teams were improving, we took a few steps back just as Finals time came about.
“A part of the reason for this is that some players were trying to play in more than one code of rugby and it resulted in some key players from the beginning of the year no longer being available for some important games.”
However, Jamie said he was very proud of what the team had been able to achieve.
“We stepped up a grade and were able to progress further in the Finals than last year. The plan is to keep pushing to take out the Grand Final next year,” he said.
Footnote: The unbeaten St George Frillnecks defeated Goondiwindi 27-7 at Toowoomba Sports Ground on Saturday in the Grand Final of the B Grade Darling Downs competition, taking home the Bill Flamsteed Cup.
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FLASHBACK: The South Burnett players sing a hymn after their first home game of the 2023 season, ironically against the Emus whom they defeated 41-7: