MOREE Boomerangs and West Lions earned home grand finals while Denman will host Greta Branxton in the Group 21 grand final at Denman Oval next Sunday after yesterday’s major rugby league finals matches across the region.
That’s the major game schedule on a day when the Lions mauled the Wee Waa Panthers 56-24 in their Group 4 major semi-final at Scully Park and saluted a young attacking genius – Matt Nean.
Nean ran amok, scoring four tries and kicking seven goals in a 30-point game.
He and his teammates never let the Panthers into the major semi-final, leading 24-nil early, 30-12 at halftime and eventually 56-24 to secure a home grand final.
They will be shooting for a fifth successive grand final success while the Panthers have a home preliminary final against North Tamworth Bears this Sunday.
Star of the show was 22-year-old Lions fullback Nean however he reckoned his teammates deserved much of the credit.
“We had a good week at training,” Nean said after the game. “Three good nights last week.
“When we click it all goes well.
“It’s great when the forwards get us on the front foot.
“All the boys had big games today.
“All did their job and made it easy for the rest of us.”
Nean will be aiming for his fifth successive grand final success after starring for the Lions in his first grand final as a 17-year-old halfback five years ago.
Yesterday he played fullback with another 17-year-old, Mitch Doring, at half.
Nean doesn’t have a preference between half or fullback.
“Just as long as I can get the ball in my hands,” he said.
His brother, Sean, also had another big game yesterday, scoring two tries.
Group 4 Second Division minor premiers Barraba Bulldogs will also host their grand final after a gripping major semi-final win over Quirindi Grasshoppers at Barraba Recreation Ground on Saturday.
The Bulldogs won 26-24 after having a player sent off midway through the second half.
Quirindi now plays a Dungowan Cowboys side which beat Kootingal Roosters 36-18 in their minor semi-final at Kootingal Oval on Saturday (see page 26 for more on those Second Division games).
In Group 21, Greta Branxton Colts scored a last-minute try to break the Scone Thoroughbred hearts in their preliminary final at Greta Oval yesterday.
Scone led 22-18 but big Colts prop Ben Murray crashed over a minute from fulltime for five eighth Joby to convert and give the home side a 24-22 win.
They now line up against Denman Devils at Denman Oval in next Sunday’s grand final seeking a second first grade premiership title to go with their 2009 success.
At Moree’s Bert Jovanovic Oval, Moree Boomerangs beat Glen Innes Magpies 56-30 after leading 26-18 at half- time.
The Boomerangs lost the second grade major semi to Armidale but won the Under 18s against Glen Innes.
Uralla won the Ladies League Tag major semi against Glen Innes, consigning the Glen Innes ladies to a home final this Sunday.
It will be a big day at Mead Park, Glen Innes, with the Magpies playing in all four preliminary finals, the Magpies playing Tingha in Ladies League Tag, Uralla in the Under 18s, Boomerangs in the second grade and Gwydir in first grade.