Changing of the guard as Young Guns top premiers
IT WAS billed as the match-up of the Ipswich Touch Association grand finals, and the A-Grade Men's decider between Better Than Lego and Young Guns produced exactly that.
In a game ITA secretary Brad Smith described as "end to end football”, it was Young Guns who caused the upset to prevail 8-7 in a thriller.
"No team ever had a lead by more than one score I don't think, it was just touchdown for touchdown,” Smith said.
Better Than Lego were the heavy favourites entering the grand final, having gone undefeated over the regular season and as last season's champions.
But led by Queensland schoolboys representative Jake Hooper, Young Guns outran and outscored their more-fancied opponents.
"These are a bunch of kids; 14, 15, 16 who led by Jake Hooper have really turned it around and become the next generation of players,” Smith said.
"In the round games, these two teams drew and that was the closest a team has come to beating Better Than Lego.
"In the last two or three seasons they'd gone undefeated.
"But I know the Better Than Lego captain was really happy to see the Young Guns get up to win, because he sees them as great opposition for his dominant team.
"They're already looking forward to next season.”
In the other A-Grade deciders, Terrors defeated Clovers in the women's clash while Squad were too strong for Tigers Black.
"They were all very competitive games within the women's and mixed division,” Smith said.
"We had quality games throughout the season, and there were no clear favourites to win those games.”
With another ITA season drawn to a close, Smith reflected on an ultimately successful 2017.
"The executive were very happy, it's been a good season with increased player participation and interest,” Smith said.
"The quality of football has been much better as well, so again we're just happy with the results.”
Pedley's efforts do not go unnoticed
VOLUNTEER Ashley Pedley was recognised on grand final night by Touch Football Australia for his tireless work with the Ipswich Touch Association.
The 50-something, who Smith labelled his "2IC” has served as a jack of all trades for the association through many years of volunteering service.
"He's one of the older guys running around, not just as a player but an official, executive member, referee, grounds keeper - he's the first there at night and last to leave. Every night there's football, he'll be there.”
Smith said the highlight of his grand final night was seeing Pedley's hard work be recognised by governing body.