Young Warriors in the rugby league grand finals

McKeachies Oval was packed with Dungog Warriors and Cessnock Goannas fans for grand finals on Saturday (August 25)  between the two teams under-15s and under-16s.

Both clubs took home one premiership each, with the Warriors under-16s winning their grand final 22-6. Dungog’s under-15s, who were in their fourth grand final in a row, tried valiantly but went down to the undefeated minor premiers 58-6. 

One premiership, two runners up and all seven teams from under-10s in the finals, everyone at the Dungog Junior Rugby League Club deserves to take a collective bow.

The Warriors under-16s claimed the division 3 title and the under-10s and under-15s showed the class of champions with valiant losses in their grand finals.

Dungog under-16s claimed the premiership with a 22-6 victory over the Cessnock Goannas in a mature and composed game of rugby league.

The Warriors opened the scoring after receiving the kick off a good attacking set saw half back Ollie Pritchard find touch with a great 40/20 kick and Dungog taking possession 15m out. 

From the scrum Ollie Pritchard hit second rower Blake Cork with a great pass into a hole for Cork to do the rest and score next to the posts. Gav Taylor slotted the goal for the Warriors to take a 6-0 lead.

With the half time bell ringing the boys went to the sheds with a 6-0 lead.

The Warriors started the second half strong with good ball control and game management from halves Ollie Pritchard and Tallis Duncan, Broc Hunt proved too big and too strong to cross over for a try from dummy half.

Warrior’s centre Ryan Coward finished off a good sequence of passes to cross in the corner for the Warriors to take a 14-0 lead.

Cessnock were next to score when after an excellent kick and even better chase they scored a converted try next to posts to keep their hopes alive at 14-6 with eight minutes on the clock.

Dungog struck back through centre Dane Laman to take the Warriors to an unassailable 18-6 lead. 

Hunt, who was named man of the match, finished the scoring. He chipped, chased and regathered to cross over for an outstanding individual try.

The Warriors under 15s faced the daunting task of beating the undefeated minor premiers Cessnock and could not have for a better start scoring the opening try.

After receiving the kick off, halfback and captain Reilly Bashford sliced through the defence to make 55m and on the back of the set a good kick again from Bashford, Liam Kennedy was on the spot to score just inside the dead ball line. Kennedy converted his own try to put the Warriors ahead 6-0.

Unfortunately, it was the end of the Warriors scoring and Cessnock ran out 58-6 winners. 

The under-15s had an outstanding season after moving up from 3rd division last season.

It was the team’s fourth consecutive grand final which is a massive achievement in itself.

The under-10s were full of character but in the end couldn’t match Wests who prevailed 36-6 in Sunday’s grand final at Baddeley Park.