MEET Rockhampton’s latest Queensland champions.
Heading into the 2011 Queensland Touch Association Junior State Cup on the weekend, Rockhampton under-18s were expected to progress through to the semi-finals, but no further.
Thriving on the underdog tag, the boys in black and red proved everyone wrong, turning up the heat in the round matches, progressing through undefeated to the finals.
Rockhampton saved their best performance for last, putting on a clinical display over Brisbane Metropolitan Touch Association/First Contact on Sunday afternoon in Hervey Bay winning its first Junior State Cup under-18 boys final 7-4.
Rockhampton fielded a side dominated by 17-year-olds in the under-18s, with seven of the 12 youngsters playing in last year’s under-16 State Cup-winning side.
Lachlan Hoch earned the Player of the Final award, but was well supported by his entire side.
Winger Jake Assay made the most of the space created by Hoch scoring four touch downs in the comprehensive win.
Despite his man of the match performance, Hoch commended the whole side’s effort.
“It was a bit of a whole team performance,” Hoch said.
“We all came together really well.”
Rockhampton coach Gary Benbow echoed Hoch’s thoughts saying an all-round effort helped bring the trophy back to the Beef Capital.
“They all played well together. They stuck to their game plan throughout the two days and they played for each other,” he said.
“They worked well together and dominated, really.”
The Rockhampton boys opened their 2011 campaign with a comfortable 7-1 win over Gladstone on day one.
The boys then backed up their first-up win over Gladstone before recording wins over carnival favourites Gold Coast, eventual grand finalists BMTA/First Contact, Caboolture, Hervey Bay, Ipswich, Bundaberg and Labrador before defeating Gold Coast 5-3 in the semi-final.
In a testament to the region’s talent, Rockhampton featured in four State Cup finals.
Rockhampton narrowly went down 4-3 to Bundaberg in the under-16 boys final, 7-4 to Toowoomba in the 14 girls final and 3-2 to the Gold Coast Gold in the 14 boys final.