Sharks snatch Open win
By MITCHELL DALE
SOUTH Queensland Sharks snatched the National Touch League Open men's title after a length-of-the-field try to Australian representative Ben Robinson in the dying stages of a grand-final cliff-hanger at International Stadium on Monday.
With the scores locked at 5-all and less than a full revolution of the minute hand on the time-keepers clock left, Robinson plucked an intercept off his own line and out-footed the Scorpions cover to score in the right corner.
If Robinson botched the intercept, Scorpions would almost certainly have scored in the opposite corner and claimed the title.
But if man-of-the-match Robinson's try was what sealed the match, then Sharks' defence was certainly what won it.
The Gold Coast-based team was dumped under pressure by the truck-load, especially in the second half, but their defence held strong.
"Defence was the key, that's what got us through," coach Mark Ruggeri said.
"We weren't too flashy in the final, we just stuck together like a true champion team."
After claiming the open men's title in 2003 and finishing third last year, Ruggeri said his troops went into the tournament confident they would still be alive when the whips were cracking.
"Our mood was one where we knew we would be up against some very good teams and a couple of unknowns in Country Rustlers and the new combination of Scorpions, who picked up some players from Sydney Mets," Ruggeri said.
"But we were confident and just ploughed on.
"We knew that if we held onto the ball, rucked well and defended hard, we would have a good chance."
Sharks led 3-2 at the break after a late try to Matt Selfe, but Scorpions were left to rue a number of missed opportunities, including bombing a certain touchdown when they dropped the ball over the line.
Scorpions had Sharks under the pump early, but after absorbing torrents of pressure, it was Sharks who grabbed the first touchdown of the second half through player-of-theseries Drummayne Dayberg.
Both sides then traded two quick tries before Scorpions stormed back into contention, levelling the scores at 5-all with tries to Anthony Ziade and Adrian Tan.
But, with Scorpions threatening to snatch the winner, Robinson stuck out his mitt to snatch the intercept that proved the differ- ence.
SYDNEY METS 6
BRISBANE COBRAS 4
SYDNEY Mets gained sweet revenge over bogey team Brisbane Cobras in the open women's final, beating the side that has denied them National Touch League success twice in as many years.
In 2003, Cobras beat Mets to claim the title and last year knocked them out in the semi-finals.
Both victories were during extra time drop-off.
"It was nice to get some revenge," Mets coach Jason Hunt said.
"We came into the game confident, we drew with them during the round matches, but a few mistakes cost us then.
"I was always confident, but it was only when we went up by two touchdowns that I could breathe easier."
Mets had the run of play for most of the first half, but found themselves trailing 2-1 at half time after a touchdown to Annabelle Pearce (Cobras) on the buzzer.
But Mets weathered the storm in the second stanza, with player of the final Louise Winchester and Amanda Judd leading from the front.