Super Seagulls make it three in a row at Nines
RUGBY LEAGUE: The Yeppoon Seagulls have soared high to claim their third consecutive Schwarz Excavations Nines title.
The two-time defending champions ran out 20-4 winners against the Emu Park Emus in the grand final played in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Browne Park this afternoon.
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It was sweet revenge for the Seagulls, who were beaten by one point by the Emus in a thrilling round match-up on Saturday night.
The final looked set to follow in a similar vein with Yeppoon leading by just two points at the half-time break but they stamped their authority in the second stanza.
A try to Nick Deaves five minutes in and a five-point bonus try to Cody Grills with just over two minutes left on the clock sealed the result.
Seagulls' skipper Sam Holzheimer said it was an incredible effort to claim the three-peat.
"Three years this comp's been running and we've won it every time. It's impressive and it's good for the boys,” he said.
It was a big weekend for Emu Park who, as well as finishing runners-up in the first division men, won the women's and the under-20 men's competitions.
The women were dominant in their grand final, running out 30-point winners against Rockhampton Brothers to claim back-to-back Nines titles, while the under-20 men did it much harder, winning 21-16 against a determined Woorabinda Warriors outfit.
Norths Chargers took the second division men's title with an exciting 26-19 win over the Bremer River Turtles from Ipswich.
Emus women's captain Kaitlin Moss put in one of the most courageous performances of the weekend, playing on after fracturing several bones in her hand on Saturday night.
"I knew I had to turn up today just to lead the girls around,” the inspirational skipper said post-final.
The experienced Emus were firm favourites to win the event but it was the fleet-footed Brothers outfit that was first on the scoreboard in the final when Lauren Curtis crossed just three minutes in.
The Emus replied immediately through Tamika Upton and from there it was all one-way traffic.
Nicole Collins, who was named the women's player of the carnival, ran in a hat-trick as the Emus ran away with the game.
Seagulls' coach Scott Minto said his team's 20-6 win over Rockhampton Brothers in the opening match on Saturday set the tone for the tournament.
"We really turned it on in that game... we didn't take the foot off the throat. Brothers is a class outfit so it was really pleasing just to get a good start to the tournament.
"Every single game we played we were pretty much on song which was pleasing.”
Minto said the players had showed that they really wanted to play football for each other.
He praised the performance of Dylan Webber, who he said "really stood up” over the weekend.
"We also had the likes of Dean Blackman who was all class and Sammy Lollo, Cody Grills and Billy Gilbert.
"All the blokes from the Capras played exceptionally well so it just really set things up well for the group.”
Under-20 men: Emu Park Emus d Woorabinda Warriors 21-16; player of the carnival Lindsay Jarrett (Woorabinda)
Women: Emu Park Emus d Rockhampton Brothers 34-4; player of the carnival Nicole Collins (Emu Park)
2nd division men: Norths Chargers d Bremer River Turtles 26-19; player of the carnival Brendan Stanley (Norths)
1st division men: Yeppoon Seagulls d Emu Park Emus 20-4; player of the carnival Malcolm Darkin (Emu Park)