GRETA Branxton Colts won a second A Plus Contracting Group 21 first grade premiership when they hung on to beat Denman Devils 18-16 in a thrilling finale to their 2014 season yesterday.
The Colts had edged out to an 18-12 lead with a try five minutes from fulltime but then the Devils came storming back to score in the final minute when winger Broque Smith dived over in the corner.
Devils captain-coach Blake Dureau had the chance to send the game into extra time but his conversion attempt fell just short.
It was a sad end for a side that had come from fourth in recent weeks with galvanising wins over Muswellbrook and Scone to reach the G21 zenith yesterday.
They were gallant in defeat in front of an estimated crowd of 4000.
“It was an absolute cracker of a game,” Group 21 president Tony Goldman said.
“It was a great game of footy and a great day.
“We had an estimated crowd of around 4000.
‘“Our first Ladies League Tag grand final went over by almost 30 minutes.
“That was an amazing game too. A great spectacle, 4-all at half time between Scone and Singleton, 8-all at fulltime and then they played 27 minutes of extra time before Scone (Camilla Clydsdale) kicked a field goal from about 30m out.”
Greater Northern Regional area manager Scott Bone saw it all unfold.
“It was an amazing game,” he said of the Ladies League Tag grand final.
“Denman did well too (in the first grade grand final).
“Greta scored about five minutes from fulltime to lead 18-12 but the Devils scored in the corner.
“I thought Blake’s kick was on line but it fell just short.”
Denman did have some consolation when its Under 18s beat Muswellbrook 14-10 in the junior grand final while Scone won the Ladies League Tag and second grade grand finals.
Denman stalwart Neil Barry said the Devils gave it their all.
“It was a very even game,” he said.
“Greta hammered us in the first 15 but we weathered that and they played well.
“Ben Hagan was enormous again. Trent Walker had another great game and Jake Green too.”
Greta-Branxton’s Joby Patten was named man of the grand final after the lock moved to hooker when representative number nine Daniel Bates injured his shoulder just before half-time.
Patten also kicked three conversions and, with Josh Griffiths, steered the side to its second premiership.
“It was tough,” Greta Branxton coach Ron Griffiths said.
“The conditions didn’t allow a free- flowing game.
“It was a little greasy underfoot but it was played tight and tough.
“Losing Daniel threw us out a little but we were able to come through the other side.
“I had no hesitation in throwing Joby into hooker.
“He acquits himself anywhere.
“I could play him prop and have no worries.”