Springfield Hawks bowed out of Barber Cup contention with their 21-15 preliminary final loss to Pine Rivers at Woodend on Saturday.
Springfield Hawks bowed out of Barber Cup contention with their 21-15 preliminary final loss to Pine Rivers at Woodend on Saturday. Sarah Harvey

Hawks tumble out of race

SPRINGFIELD has fallen just short of setting up an all-Ipswich Barber Cup grand final, going down 21-15 to Pine Rivers at Woodend on Saturday.

The toughest conditions of the season greeted the two semi-finalists for the crucial contest to decide who would take on Ipswich Rangers in next weekend's grand final.

Teeming rain reduced the contest to a battle of wills but despite scoring two tries a-piece, the Hawks failed to match their more experienced opponents.

Team manager Ruth Pamatatau said that both teams struggled on the slippery surface.

“It was terrible, there were stages where you could hardly see, it would ease off and then just pour like you wouldn't believe,” Pamatatau said.

“It was very muddy and I think with it raining as hard as it was, it had a negative affect on both teams. In a way they were good conditions for our team though and most of them enjoyed slipping and sliding.”

The Hawks conceded two first half tries before David Pamatatau scored late to bring his side back in the contest at half-time.

After the break Springfield began to hit their straps and levelled the scores at 15-all through a try to Louis Makaure.

Just when it seemed an upset was on the cards, some contentious refereeing decisions swung the momentum back to Pine Rivers.

“We were much better in the second half and we really got into the game but some refereeing calls seemed to put the boys off,” Pamatatau said.

Skipper John King led from the front and halfback Bruce Tafa had a strong game, providing his forwards with quality ball in difficult conditions.

Coach Heta Pamatatau will be disappointed to have fallen just short of a grand final berth but must be pleased to have come so close in what was only the team's second season.

After finishing fifth in the club's inaugural season, the third place finish has them on track to fulfil the coaches' three-year plan of a grand final appearance.

All that remains in for the Hawks in 2011 is a presentation night which will be hastily arranged before King gets married in a fortnight.

Ruth Pamatatau rated the season a success.

“It would have been nice for us to make the final but really semis were a bonus,” she said.

“For just their second season, the boys should be really proud of themselves. My husband Heta and I certainly are.”

Ipswich Rangers will be represented in both Barber and Pegg Cup grand Finals after their Reserve grade team beat Sunnybank 14-10 in the Pegg Cup preliminary final.

They advance to meet Beenleigh in the grand final.