Sin-bins, red cards, injured ref and a bloody good match
RUGBY UNION: Dawson Valley prevailed in a drama-charged A-grade grand final against Rockhampton Brothers on Saturday.
The Rugby Capricornia decider at Rugby Park had everything - points aplenty, some spectacular tries, bone-rattling defence, melees, sin bins and red cards.
Even referee Dave Doherty had to leave the field after he injured his hamstring early in the second half, meaning assistant ref Billy Howie had to finish the game.
But in the end it was Dawson Valley 35-19.
The reserve grade final, while low-scoring, was equally as enthralling.
Biloela led 3-nil for the best part of the contest before Cap Coast's Trent Flynn scored in the shadow of full-time to snatch a 7-3 victory for his team.
That was a fitting pre-cursor to what shaped as an epic A-grade battle between minor premiers Drovers and Brothers.
Drovers came out firing, Richie Kay scoring their first try in the third minute to give them a 5-nil lead, before Brothers hit back through Riley Mertin.
There were ominous signs for Brothers when their influential flyhalf Lee Anderson went down several times in the first half with a quad injury.
While it curtailed his kicking game, he battled on but eventually succumbed to it about 15 minutes from full-time.
There was plenty of feeling in the game and it became a real arm wrestle through the middle.
Drovers Mitch Johnstone was sin-binned for 10 minutes and in his absence his team broke the deadlock with a try to Kye Gea.
They went ahead 15-5 courtesy of a penalty before winger George Stacey and fullback Ben Cumming combined for the try of the game - a brilliant kick, chase and regather down the right-hand edge to extend the lead to 20-5 at half-time.
Drovers were dealt a blow early in the second half when forward Dan Tyson was sent off for the game.
Being a man down did not curtail their attack, and they scored two tries in quick time to race out to a 30-5 lead.
Brothers knew they had to score next to stay in the contest, and when Tom Newberry crashed over out wide they were back in the hunt at 30-12.
Simmering tensions boiled over midway through the second half and from the ensuing melee, Brothers Tom Button was given a red card and Drovers Andrew Parker a yellow.
Three minutes later and Brothers, with a converted try to Tyron Harvey, had narrowed the margin to 11 points.
They tried valiantly to add more points but it was Drovers who found the tryline next, Richie Kay diving in to seal the result.
Jubilant skipper Harry Phillips described it as a gutsy win, saying it was Drovers "sheer aggression” that got them home.
"I think we just outplayed them, out-enthused them,” he said.
"I'm pretty proud. They all stood up, especially the front row.
"We lost the grand final last year... but we came in with the mentality this year to be one better so getting the win tonight is pretty special for everyone.”
Phillips was "over the moon” about winning the title in his first year as captain.
Brothers skipper Ben Wiltshire said while the loss was hard to take, he was proud of his team's performance.
"We worked hard and the guys played really well at times... we just couldn't put it together for the 80 minutes.
"We did come back and the guys never gave up.
"Credit to Drovers, they came out hard and they played really well.”