One point separates arch rivals
TOOWOOMBA Rangers clinched the coveted third spot on this season’s Risdon Cup ladder with a heart-stopping victory over Toowoomba Bears at Heritage Oval on Saturday.
Rangers guaranteed themselves two bites of the finals’ cherry when the series gets underway in Roma this weekend with a come-from-behind 29-28 victory over their arch rivals.
The win earns Rangers a major semi-final clash with Roma on Saturday while Bears premiership defence now comes down to a knock-out semi-final showdown with Goondiwindi.
Finals football began early for Rangers and Bears on Saturday.
Both teams threw themselves into an intense, entertaining match which Rangers refused to surrender and Bears twice had the opportunity of winning in the final five minutes with missed penalty goal attempts.
Rangers opened the scoring through a smart try to fullback Joe Adams.
But Bears enjoyed a huge possession and territorial advantage for the remainder of the first session and converted that to a 17-7 half-time lead after tries from Brad Neil and Ben Forbes.
Bears made an ominous start to the second half and raced to a 25-7 lead following a Josh Cameron try.
The day looked possibly over for the visitors but a three-try blitz in the space of 11 minutes from Jamie Walker, Dom McAtomney and Michael Wedlock turned the match upside down as Rangers clawed their way to a 26-25 lead.
Bears were back in front 28-26 three minutes later through a Forbes penalty goal before Rangers again snatched the lead 29-28 when Ben Tuesley coolly potted a 35m pressure penalty conversion.
Forbes had two penalty goal attempts inside the final five minutes to try and salvage the match for Bears only to see the long-range attempts miss the mark.
“That was a great comeback,” Rangers coach AJ Doidge said. “We had some walking wounded out there but I’m proud of how we dug in. It’s a great result for us”
In other weekend results, USQ defeated Goondiwindi 24-14 and UQ/Highfields downed St George 22-14.