34th Column

Under 18s winners

Then there were four! After weeks and weeks of talking about who did and did not deserve to be in the last four spots for the NRL 2021 Grand Final Qualifier, it came down to experience, luck, and, of course, controversy. 

The Manly Roosters game was always going to be one-sided in my opinion, as the Chooks don’t even look like cutting it at Red Roosters. such was their season. They lost too many good players to even make a play for the flag, but I think they still performed better than most teams. They lost Boyd Cordiner, Jake Friend, one Morris twin, Joey Manu, and Keary their half, so it wasn’t going to be an easy ask for the Bondi girls. Still, they had a side stacked full of Origin players, finals’ experience that many teams would have envied, so I think they finished where they were supposed to. 

As with the other game, well I feel Parramatta should feel a little hard done by given the circumstance of how it played. The game ended a thriller, probably the best prelim we have seen in a while, but what Penrith did, with that trainer slowing the game down, was utter garbage. 

The Eels were on the attack, with the game swinging in their favour for a certain try, then a Panthers trainer calls out to the ref without an assessment of the players and asks to halt the game as Parra was attacking their try line. 

The ref holds up play, Parra wait, Panthers reset their line and the Jubs never score. The trainer in question gets a $25,000 fine and is suspended indefinitely, which is silly because they don’t care, they are playing a prelim, whereas the Eels are knee deep in Mad Monday. Is it a tactic coaches use? Of course, they all do. 

Apart from that, we now look forward to two absolute crackers of games that should have all league pundits dribbling. Souths should account for the Sea Eagles and the Storms will be too good for the Penny Panthers. Bring on the weekend I say.

Last Saturday night, the Tully Tigers held their annual Rugby League Presentation night at the famous Tigers Leagues Club in front of family and friends. The night was packed with fun as yours truly once again emceed the evening with fun and laughter. Although the season was disappointing, rewarding players and officials for their tireless efforts during a testing 2021 is a good way of thanking all those who gave their time. 

Darian Burton picked up a swag of trophies, along with Uso and Morgan Black. Ms Nadine was the most obvious choice for Club Person of the Year for her hard work behind the scenes. President Anthony Emmi once again thanked all who was involved. 

“Although it was a hard year, we worked hard to keep our club afloat. Paul Ketchell should be proud as we all are.” 

Big Dan walked away with a few trophies to his name and both Samat Gutchen and Nathan Muriata both took out the much-prized Anthony Grant Medal for bravery. Thank you to Shakobe Grant for presenting the award on behalf of the Grant family. 

As the night progressed with the point scoring for the top award, it came down to the last few games when Jesse Barra cleared the way to take the 2021 Tully Rugby League Player of the Year. A worthy mention has to go to Cameron Vecchio who stood tall, (which isn’t much taller than me) in a display of courage and determination. If you ever get a chance, check the dictionary for the word unbelievable courage and I can guarantee that a photo of Cameron Vecchio will appear. 

The club must be tiring of hearing my jokes every year, so they hired a comedian to entertain the crowd, and boy did he what! Sean Choolburra came, saw, and made everyone laugh in an evening of fun and comedy. Thank you once again for allowing me to be a part of the Tigers’ season and I look forward to seeing you all back next year,

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