It’s been a long time coming (14 years to be exact) but Easts have finally reclaimed the Hospital Cup.
A big thanks to the QRU Media Department for allowing us to use their match report.
Easts have won the Hospital Cup for the first time since 2008 after defeating GPS 27-22 in the Queensland Premier Rugby Grand Final at Ballymore on Sunday afternoon.
In front of a crowd of 8,670, Easts proved too powerful for GPS, repeating their victory from the Major Semi-Final two weeks ago.
The kicking of fly-half Matt Brandon proved the difference with both teams scoring four tries each.
Despite the strong Easts display, GPS fought to the end making Easts supporters tense, as the Gallopers searched for points late in the match.
Easts landed the killer blow 17 minutes from fulltime when no. 8 Jarrad Butler scored in the right corner to give the Tigers a 27-12 lead, proving too much for GPS to reel in despite two late tries.
Easts coach Pat Richards praised his side for their performance.
“I’m pretty stoked at the moment,” Richards said.
“I’m really pleased that our players went out there and showed just how good they are as a team.
“That’s what I asked, that they go out there and show that they are the best team in the competition.”
Easts jumped out to a 12-0 lead midway through the first half and Richards said the early lead was crucial.
“I said to the boys go out there and play,” he said.
“When you get the opportunity to execute your plays, go out there and execute them early with confidence, and that’s what they did.”
GPS inside centre Nick Zangari had the first opportunity to open the scoring with a penalty in the second minute, however, he hooked the attempt to the left of the posts.
Easts then scored the first try of the match minutes later through outside centre Toby White.
Fly-half Matt Brandon was unable to convert from the sideline, leaving the score at 5-0.
Zangari and Brandon then traded missed penalty attempts, both kicks hooking to the left of the posts.
Brandon’s miss turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Easts.
The ball spilled out of a ruck from the resulting restart and young Tigers prodigy, Jonah Placid, swooped on the loose ball before beating three defenders and scoring under the posts in a sensational individual effort.
Brandon knocked the conversion over from directly in front to leave GPS reeling at 12-0 down.
GPS needed to score to keep themselves in the match and the important try came five minutes before half-time.
No.8 Mitch King came close to scoring in the corner, only to be held up, however from the resulting scrum, Jeeps worked the ball to the centre of the pitch and prop Phil Kite barged over from close range.
Zangari’s conversion brought GPS to within a converted try, before Brandon made no mistake from a scrum penalty right on the stroke of half-time, giving Easts a 15-7 lead at the break.
GPS would score the first points of the second half through Queensland Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby, who took a quick tap and sliced through the Tigers defence to score underneath the posts.
However, Jeeps’ jubilation was short-lived.
Easts found themselves back in attacking territory from the kick-off and made the most of it.
After catching GPS short of numbers out to the right, Easts worked the ball to the left where 18-year-old Tony Shaw Medallist, Michael Gunn, found his way through the GPS defence and scored to extend Easts’ lead to 10 points.
Easts then landed the killer blow 17 minutes from full-time.
Once again, they caught the Jeeps defence short out to the right, and Butler crossed to give the Tigers a considerable lead.
However, just as Easts looked uncatchable, GPS outside centre Samu Kerevi powered his way over in the corner to reduce the margin back to 10 points.
The Easts faithful were sent into further panic when GPS captain Jono Ellis surged over the line with one minute left to play, making it a five-point ballgame.
Despite their best efforts, the Tigers defence managed to stop Jeeps last attacking raid and Butler kicked the ball into the crowd, to signal the end of the match.
Premier Grand Final: Easts 27 (M Gunn J Butler T White J Placid tries M Brandon 2 cons pen) d GPS 22 (P Kite J Ellis N Frisby S Kerevi tries N Zangari con)
And to finish it all off, I’ll do a little summary.
Brothers were firm favourites at the start of the year but the other three Top Four teams truly proved themselves in the competition. Easts’ growth throughout the year has been phenomenal and they deserve to have possession of the Hospital Cup again. GPS are also a strong team so kudos to them, too.
We saw much improvement from Souths this year so they’ll definitely be ones to watch next year.
Well I’m off to try and cure this headache (definitely not Silly Sunday-related of course) so thank you to everyone who read these articles this year and most of all, thank you for supporting club rugby in 2013. Saturday’s for the next 6 months won’t be the same.
Until next year!
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