Super finale to quality Ipswich series
AFTER months of planning and five weeks of competition, Ipswich celebrated a memorable finale to the Super 8s touch football competition.
In a reduced schedule consisting of shield and plate preliminary finals and grand finals, the lack of games didn't result in a lack of quality on Friday night.
Each of the Super 8 teams lived up to the credo of playing every game to succeed.
A great sign for women's touch football in Ipswich was that the Brothers' Meerkats upstaged the more fancied Brisbane-based Cobras in the grand final.
Unable to attend the National Touch League tournament in Coffs Harbour this year the Meerkats progressed through to the decider after winning their quarter and preliminary finals.
"I'm speechless,'' said Ipswich Touch volunteer Leesa Johnstone, after closely monitoring the Meerkats' efforts.
"These ladies love the Coffs Harbour event but are unable to attend and this is reward for their dedication despite not having the nationals on their radar."
The Meerkats had to fight tooth and nail and scored a cleverly crafted try with only minutes to spare to break the three-all deadlock.
The Cobras responded immediately by attacking the line with side-to-side ball movement but were denied repeatedly by the motivated Meerkats' defensive line.
The Cobras were eventually beaten by the clock going down 4-3.
Ali Brigginshaw, who has played in both the All Stars game in Newcastle and for the Jillaroos in the Auckland Nines in recent weeks, extended her stellar start to the year by being named player of the grand final. She claimed the Kelly Woods Shield.
The men's final didn't disappoint with the Saints overcoming a spirited Cobras combination 10 tries to six.
The Saints, who are a mix of Toowoomba and Brisbane players, opened up a commanding first half lead with a flurry of tries to go into the break leading 5-1.
In reply the Cobras found their range making the second stanza a more evenly weighted contest.
Both teams crossed the paint five times resulting in a 10-6 score line in the Saints' favour.
The Cobras were left rueing their slow start to the final.
Saints' player Sam Carmody featured strongly in his team's dominance and was duly rewarded with the Scott Notley Shield for being the best on the field during the grand final.
The Queensland and Australian 20s squad member and Broncos' Elite 8 representative now turns his attention to the NTLs in Coffs Harbour.
In other results, the women's plate final was fought between the Ipswich Touch Falcons and Force.
In a scoreline resembling the shield final, the Force overcame the Falcons to win 4-3.
The men's plate final was a one-sided affair with the Ipswich Touch Hurricanes defeating the Natives 9-0.
"Considering the class of player at the Super 8s the ITA are proud of the fact that Ipswich teams featured in four of the finals," ITA president Dale O'Connell said.
"That doesn't include the smattering of local players lining up alongside those from Brisbane, Redlands, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba in other teams."
The Ipswich Touch Association's regular season is next with the competition getting into full swing this week.
Visit www.ipswichtouch. com for details.
State of play
Ipswich Super 8s
Women's Shield final: Meerkats 4 def. Cobras 3. Plate final: Force 4 def. Falcons 3.
Men's Shield final: Saints 10 def. Cobras 6. Plate final: Hurricanes 9 def. Natives 0.