Griffith Waratah Tigers were at their devastating best at EW Moore Oval on Sunday as they romped to a 50-22 victory over Darlington Point-Coleambally in the Group 20 grand final.
The premiership was the Tigers’ second in a row and it would take a brave punter to back against them winning more if they keep their side together.
Tigers player-coach Kose Lelei, who has already recommitted for next season, said the victory over the Roosters was a special performance.
“It still hasn’t really sunk in yet, I don’t think,” Lelei said after the triumph.
“It was a great performance from the boys.
“I think the last eight minutes when we scored a couple of late tries, that’s when it really hit we were going to go back to back. I’m just so happy for them (players).”
The Waratahs set the tone from the opening set as they charged the ball 90 metres up the field before fullback Johnny Teleaga scored a converted try.
The Roosters appeared shell-shocked, but they quickly composed themselves and hit back through No.9 Jarrad Williams after a sustained period of good field position.
Williams – arguably DPC’s best on the day – wriggled over near the posts to set up an easy conversion for Josh Veivers, who made it 6-all.
But if the Roosters were feeling good about themselves after the try, the positivity would have disappeared when they knocked on from the restart.
The Tigers capitalised through winger Sosaia Finefeuiaki, and then piled on more pain with further tries to Enoch Tia and Lelei.
The Roosters were staring down the barrel at 22-6 down, but a try to Nick Briggs briefly revived their hopes before a disastrous end to the half. First, five-eighth and coach Ryan McGoldrick was sin-binned for dissent before Tigers halfback Luke Farmer snaffled an intercept to score as the siren sounded in the background.
Leading 28-12, the Tigers pressed their advantage with another try to Finefeuiaki soon after the restart, stretching their advantage to 20 points.
The game looked over as a contest, but someone forgot to tell the Roosters. Back-to-back tries to McGoldrick and Tongia Fox reduced the margin to 10, and the Tigers were suddenly looking nervous.
But the reigning premiers steadied and finished off with tries to Shorne Ngu, Michael Ioapo and man-of-the-match Farmer to secure the victory.
Tempers frayed as the game degenerated into a push-and-shove contest in the closing minutes, but there was no denying the Tigers’ superiority.
Earlier in the day, West Wyalong scored a thrilling 28-24 win over Griffith Black and Whites in the reserve grade grand final.
Hay won Leaguetag.
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