Grand final upsets
By RACHEL GRANT
THE 2006 Seniors NTL grand final day was huge, with drop-offs the order of the day and exciting matches, not to mention upsets, scattered throughout all divisions in the quarter finals, semi finals and even grand finals.
Unfortunately for the Sydney Scorpions, they hadn't saved their best Touch for their grand final against the Sydney Mets.
The Mets aiming for their fourth straight title were switched on from the opening siren, with Tony Eltakchi's long ball on fire from the beginning, setting up their first touchdown in the opening minutes.
The Scorpions heads soon dropped as an intercept was wasted, another break away was stopped by a desperate Mets touch and the Mets scored on what the crowd believed was a forward pass.
It only got worse for the Scorpions, with Captain Phil Jarrett sin binned and the Mets scoring to take a 3-0 lead.
When the players came out after half time, everyone was hoping the Scorpions fortunes would change, but George Kokotas put that on hold with a length of the field touchdown that gave them a 4-1 lead and sealed the match.
The Scorpions did manage a consolation touchdown, with Bruce 'the Doc' Ager, the oldest man on the field, scoring in the corner for his side.
The Mets finished off the match with one final touchdown, taking home the Mens 30's title for the fourth year in a row.
Sydney Mets (5) defeated Sydney Scorpions (1).
Player of the Final: Gary Sonda (Mets).
Player of the Series: Chris Jonson (Mets).
THE Sydney Scorpions were here in 2006 to avenge their runner-up finish in 2005?and they got off to a brilliant start on the first set of six.
Jody English then showed her blistering pace to make matters worse for the Suns, a 2-0 lead only five minutes into the game, unfortunately for Jody and the Scorpions she was hampered for the remainder of the match with some sort of hip injury.
For the Suns their first half was a struggle, making mistakes on the roll ball, forward passes and missing touches that all cost them valuable opportunities.
But, down 2-0 at half time, the Suns lifted for the second half, Sharon Gray's drive literally the driving force behind their resurgence.
Down 3-1 with 10 minutes to go, Gray drove setting up a touchdown for Rachel Byrne before the Scorpions dropped a simple ball up their end, effectively costing them the chance to seal the match.
Gray drove again setting up Athanasia Savvoudis to tie the game at 3-3 and send it into a drop-off, where again Gray was the maestro, driving and allowing Kylie Stuart to score on their first set of six touches.
The Scorpions had the opportunity to equal on their first set of six, but were unable to, sealing the match for the Southern Suns. Southern NSW Suns (4) def Sydney Scorpions (3) in a drop-off.
Player of the Final: Sharon Gray (Southern NSW Suns).
Player of the Series: Mary-Anne Fisher (Brisbane City Cobras).
The men's 35's grand final was a tale of two halves, as the favourites, the Sharks, spent the first half fumbling passes, missing touches and being constantly driven back by the strong attack of the Scorpions.
The Scorpions jumped to an early lead before Dave Raper fed Corey Foster to level it up, however the Scorpions looked much more threatening jumping to a 3-1 lead before the Sharks hit back to make it 3-2 at half time.
When the Scorpions scored straight after half time to take a 4-2 lead, little did the crowd know it would be their last moment of glory as the Sharks finally kicked into gear.
Corey Foster scored his second for the Sharks and then past Australian Open Captain, Scott Notley, dove and caught a difficult pass to tie the game at 4-4.
It never got better for the Scorpions, the momentum well and truly with the Sharks as they scored the next four touchdowns in a row, racing to a 8-4 lead in the blink of an eye.
While the Scorpions scored a late consolation touchdown, the match was over, with the Sharks emerging 8-5 winners.
South Qld Sharks (8) def Sydney Scorpions (5) Player of the Final: Ian Jordan (South Qld Sharks).
Player of the series: Dave Raper (South Qld Sharks).
IT was an all-Queensland affair in the Womens 35's, with the Rustlers and Sharks qualifyng for the final after the round matches.
For the Rustlers girls they had barely scraped into the final, percentage getting them over the line above the Northern Eagles.
They made the most of their opportunity though, staying with the Sharks who had led throughout the pool matches.
The final 4-2 scoreline does not give justice to the fight that ensued between the Queensland players, with the score extremely tight at 3-2 until the Sharks scored right on the buzzer.
Sth Qld Sharks (4) def Qld Country Rustlers (3).
Player of the Final: Lisa Miller (Sth Qld Sharks).
Player of the Series: Terri Kronk (Sth Qld Sharks).
They were the best team here all week and the best team won.
The Sydney Scorpions dominated the men's 40's in 2006, posting big scores and proving they deserved their number one ranking.
They went into the final against the Sharks raring to go, with the Sharks unable to stop the Scorpion onslaught.
It began with Andrew Keayes crossing the line for the Scorpions, with Peter Wandl doing the same not long after.
To the Sharks credit the 2-0 score line did not blow out in the second half, despite their lack of fit players and they continued to work hard, restricting the Scorpions to just another 2 touchdowns in the second half.
Sydney Scorpions (4) def Sth Qld Sharks (0).
Player of the Final: Tim Kitchingham (Scorpions) Player of the Series: David Kafoa (Sharks).
THE women's 40's Scorpions and Suns provided one of the best grand finals in NTL history for the division.
The Suns started on fire, with Jill McGuinness scoring just two minutes in, after good passing from the Suns created holes in the Scorpions defence.
Donna Menzies made the score 2-0 and the Scorpions looked in danger of falling in a hole, before Michelle Schmidt brought them back to 2-1.
By half time through, the score had blow out to 4-1 with Moi Wiliams and Alyson Fisher crossing the line for the Suns.
The change of sub boxes at half time obviously transferred the control of play however, as the Scorpions got themselves back into the game with scores from Debbie Hennessey and Julie McGaffie.
With seven minutes to go the Scorpions equaled the score and that was how it stayed until the siren went, bringing the drop-off situation into play.
The drop-off was like another game unto itself, the Suns missing two early opportunities to win through a dropped ball and a diving touch from the Scorpions defence.
A forward pass then denied the Scorpiotheir winning score and the drop-off continued down to three players per side.
After playing an extra 10 minutes, the Scorpions emerged as the 2006 NTL winners, the Suns dive at full stretch unable to prevent Gabrielle Wheelan from scoring the winning touchdown.
Sydney Scorpions (5) def Southern NSW Suns (4) in a drop-off.
Player of the Final: Michelle Schmidt (Sydney Scorpions).
Player of the Series: Heather Desbois (Nth Qld Cyclones).
THE men's 45's grand final was a grinding affair, with the number of defensive stoppages huge for both teams.
The Cobras went in absolute favourites after cruising through the round matches undefeated and being defending champions, but the Mets had obviously worked out how to counter the Cobras plan of attack and did it well, taking the game to 1-1 at full time.
For the third final in a row, the crowd was served a drop-off, with Brisbane Cobras emerging the eventual winners and claiming back to back titles, 2-1 in a great game of Touch Football.
Brisbane City Cobras (2) def Sydney Mets (1) in a drop-off.
Player of the Final: Gary Simmons (Mets).
Player of the Series: Peter Britnell (Cobras).
The men's 50's final between the Hunter Western Hornets and the Queensland Country Rustlers was the best game of Touch seen in the division for the whole tournament?and fittingly so as it was the grand final.
With the Hornets aiming for four titles in a row the pressure was certainly on, while the Rustlers were aiming for their first title in the division.
Barry Herbert opened the scoring early for the Hornets but the scoring see-sawed as the teams refused to let their opposition get away.
With ten minutes to go and the score locked at 5-5, the game only intensified as both teams sensed the siren was near.
Neither team could score in the drop-off when it was 5 on 5 and then 4-4, as desperate diving touches saved the game on more than one occasion.
But after about five minutes of playing 3-3, the Rustlers drew the defence and then scored in the corner, despite the final diving attempt for eventual Player of the Series, Michael Gallagher.
A 6-5 win to the Rustlers, giving them their first title and breaking the stranglehold of the Hornets on the division.
It has to be mentioned though, that the sportsmanship showed by all of the players and officials was brilliant, the congratulations after the marathon effort given from both sides were genuine and it was obvious the respect each side held for the other.
Congratulations to both the Rustlers and the Hornets. Rustlers (6) def Hornets (5) in a drop-off.
Player of the final: John Mason (Rustlers).
Player of the series: Michael Gallagher (Hornets).